Bersih Sarawak: State polls not an excuse to impose Emergency

Ann Teo.

KUCHING, Oct 25: Bersih Sarawak condemns any attempt to use Sarawak’s upcoming state election as an excuse to impose a nationwide Emergency in the name of fighting Covid 19.

Its chairperson Ann Teo, in a press statement today said, such an emergency will not only damage Malaysia’s democracy and economy, but also has the effect of crippling Sarawak’s autonomy.

“It will be a blank cheque for the federal government to have control on Sarawak on “any matter within the legislative authority of a State” even to the extent of “giving of directions to the Government of a State or to any officer or authority thereof”, as per Article 150(4) the Federal Constitution.

“As avoidance of elections, (including) the national election if the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s government collapses, the upcoming Sarawak election and the Batu Sapi by-election in Sabah, have been made the excuse for such an emergency.

“Bersih Sarawak would like to remind all parties that Sarawak’s state election can be held as late as Aug 5, 2021, nine months away, and when the vaccines would likely be available,” she said.

Teo noted the Sarawak state government needs to serve its full term until June 6, 2021, that is five years from the first sitting of the current State Legislature Assembly (DUN) since June 7, 2016, and the Election Commission (EC) to fix polling on the last of 60 days from dissolution.

She said in order to observe social distancing, rallies and door-to-door campaigning can be replaced with live debates and airtime for candidates of all 82 state constituencies on Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) television and radio channels.

“Not to mention implementing special or alternative methods of voting including absentee voting via postal voting or advance voting for all Sarawakians over the South China Sea in the Peninsula and Sabah.

“Bersih Sarawak staunchly rejects any suggestion that the Emergency is to protect Sarawakians from Covid 19 in the state election. Such imputation only reflects the lack of understanding of some Malayan politicians of Malaysia’s political process.

“We as Sarawakians, on the other hand, fully understand our rights and how our political system works,” added Teo.

At the same time, she said Bersih Sarawak holds that the Sarawak state government under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) must not be part of such a plan that undermines Sarawak’s autonomy.

“It must surely consider withdrawing from the Muhyiddin-led federal government to stop the disastrous emergency proposed,” she said. –DayakDaily.