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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Nov 22: Rumours have it that the impending 12th Sarawak Election will be a two-day event from Dec 18 (Saturday) to Dec 19 (Sunday) instead of the usual one-day practice.
For younger Sarawakians who are used to the one-day polling system, it was not uncommon for Sarawak to have two days or more to vote in the first few Sarawak Elections due to the geographical size of Sarawak.
This election, if it is rumoured to stretch for two days, would be most likely due to the Election Commission’s (EC) intention to spread the voters out over two days instead of the recent years’ common practice of one day to avoid close contact, overcrowding, and long queues at polling stations as well as to ensure social distancing is maintained among voters.
The speculated dates carry some weight since there are not many options left for the EC to manoeuvre as the commission will only meet this Wednesday (Nov 24) to discuss election matters. With the election regulatory body only meeting towards the end of the month and the fact that the election must be held before Jan 2, it is logical to deduce that the long-overdue 12th Sarawak Election can only be held in December.
It was thus not a surprise that when Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah was asked by the media at a press conference at a ‘Meet the Community Leaders’ session held at a hotel at Asajaya today, he predicted that polling day would fall between Dec 6 and Dec 18.
His rationale was that the EC is facing a constraint as the Sarawak Election cannot be stretched beyond Christmas Day, which is a holiday week.
“It can’t be held as late as Christmas, that is the last weekend (of the year). So the only weekends available, taking into consideration the campaign period of 12 to 14 days, are Dec 6 to Dec 18,” said Abdul Karim.
The EC has not been known to be hasty with election dates. Instead, it has shown over time to consider many factors including providing ample time for all concerned quarters to prepare.
It would be thus unlikely for the EC to make a decision for the election to be held this weekend (Nov 27) nor next weekend (Dec 5) which will be considered too hasty for all parties concerned. So, the only two weekends available for the EC to consider to set a date for polling day will be from Dec 11 and Dec 18. Between the two dates, it is believed that Dec 18 will be more favourable as it will give enough time for all to prepare to ensure a smooth and safe election. — DayakDaily