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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 12: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas hopes for realistic standard operating procedures (SOP) when it comes to the coming Sarawak Election that will help all parties and candidates during the campaigning period.
“We are still waiting for the Election Commission (EC) and Ministry of Health (MOH) to announce the SOPs for the Sarawak Election and campaigning period,” he said.
Although the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak is stabilising, the Bukit Saban incumbent however emphasised the importance of adhering to all basic safety and health rules to keep candidates, voters and officials safe.
“The basic preventive measures including physical distancing must be implemented effectively. This is very important to prevent the spread of the disease,” he told reporters after presenting grants from the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) today.
As Sarawak inches closer to the polls, Uggah noted that there were plenty of challenges ahead, as for the first time in Sarawak’s political history, the elections will be held during a global pandemic and under new norms.
“This is going to be a different scenario altogether as seen in Melaka. The Melaka model (will determine how the election will be held),” he added.
Sarawak has 60 days to call for the election since the Emergency Ordinance was revoked on Nov 3, but as of today, the EC has yet to set the date for the Sarawak polls.
For Melaka’s 15th State Election, no political rallies and other conventional physical campaigns such as walkabouts or home visits will be permitted.
EC chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh said that candidates can maximise their campaigning methods using online mediums or through mass media and social media channels.
Candidates are allowed to campaign using vehicles outfitted with loudspeakers to deliver their campaign speeches, subject to police approval.
Throughout the campaigning period, candidates or parties are only allowed to open one primary operations room for each state constituency. No other subsidiary operations rooms or gathering areas for the party or candidate should be set up, he added.
Meanwhile, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) has seized the first window of opportunity to call for the polls, saying that as it was not clear when the pandemic would end, the government needed a fresh mandate to steer Sarawak through the social and economic challenges to achieve its target of an advance, high income state by 2030.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had on Nov 4 announced that the Emergency Ordinance would be lifted effective Nov 3, ahead of its February 2022 schedule after the King assented to it, thus automatically dissolving the State Legislative Assembly (DUN).
Meanwhile, Uggah presented Unifor grant totalling RM3.896 million to at least 28 houses of worship and religious associations held in two sessions today.
Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian represented the Buddhist and Taoist bodies to receive RM1.47 million.
Archbishop Simon Poh represented Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuching, Diocese of Sibu and Diocese of Miri to receive RM1 million.
Others include Seventh-Day Adventish Mission of Sarawak, Sarawak Blessed Church, Borneo Evangelical Mission, Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference, Methodist Church Malaysia Sarawak’s Iban Annual Conference, Sarawak Baptist Church, The Salvation Army, Grace Sentral Church, Sibu Christian Worshiper Association, Calvary Charismatic Centre, New Christian Generation Association, Sarawak Baha’i Charitable Trust, International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Sri Seenivasagar Kaliamman Temple, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Mount Matang, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Association, Sibu Hindu Temple Association, Miri Hindu Society Sri Karmini Durga Eswari Amman Temple, Sarawak Sikh Temple Association, Sibu Sikh Temple, Gurdwara Sahib Miri, 611 Bread of Life Centre Kuching, City Harvest Christian Fellowship, Grace Christian Community Welfare Association and 611 Bread of Life Christian Church Sibu.— DayakDaily