Sarawak Election to be called within 60 days if Emergency lifted on August 1

Uggah (right) and Khairy at a press conference held at Wisma Bapa here today (May 28, 2021). Picture courtesy of Penerangan Department.

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, May 29:  The Sarawak Election must be called within 60 days if the Emergency were to be lifted on August 1, 2021 where the polling date will be decided by the Election Commission.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas clearly stated this and explained that following the ending of Emergency, Sarawak Legislative Assembly also expires.

“If Emergency (were to) end on Aug 1, that means our negeri (Sarawak Legislative Assembly or DUN) term also ends at that time.

“And from there, we will leave it to the Election Commission to decide when is the election,” said Uggah in a joint press conference with Ministry of Science, Technology and Information Jamaruddin Khairy at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.

The Sarawak DUN will expire on June 6, 2021.  Due to the Emergency, however, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was unable to dissolve DUN as the Emergency laws supersede the Constitution.

Following the declaration of the King that the Sarawak government will continue as usual, and the current Sarawak government is functioning based on Emergency laws and will be expired once the Emergency is lifted.

Based on the unique situation Sarawak is experiencing, Khairy explained that the plan to accelerate immunisation programme against Covid-19 in Sarawak was not “political” but out of legal necessity as well as public health concern.

“First, our commitment to the Sarawak governement does not in any way take away from any vaccines that we plan to deliver to the other states. And I can give assurance to the people of the Klang Valley, especially (those) in Selangor which is ground zero right now. 

“But i think its important for me to raise this point that this is not a political (point) but it is a legal requirement and it is also a public health issue.  Should the emergency ends on the first of August, then at that point in time, Sarawak by law needs to hold its state election within 60 days. 

“So with that in mind, there needs to be some forms of accelerated vaccination for the State of Sarawak because if emergency ends on August 1, then Sarawak will have to have State Election,” said Khairy.

He reminded the sudden surge of Covid-19 cases following the Sabah Election last year and explained that if Sarawak people are not vaccinated by the time where Sarawak Election were to be held, then “not only the State of Sarawak but the entire country of Malaysia will at risk of another wave.

“And we cant afford that. So its not a political matter or preference but rather a legal requirement for Sarawak to have its election 60 days after the emergency is lifted,” said Khairy.  — DayakDaily