Elections In Sarawak not due till June 2021. An Emergency Needed?

The Sarawak Government has until June 2021 as it has been mandated to rule by the people. The So-called Emergency which netizens have been harping on is not a necessity as yet.

The Sarawak Government would want to have a fresh mandate no doubt but many Voters across the constituencies would think otherwise.

The Pandemic #COVID19 is on the rise in Peninsula Malaysia which seems highly likely that they have been sparked off just after the recently concluded Sabah Elections in October where campaign workers and election officials came back after their work commitments.

There is obviously a fear that it might also claim lives as seen by the recent surge of deaths.

As recently as the 30th of October Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said,”ELECTIONS NOT ADVISED BUT CAN PROCEED” and laid down the rules that there should be no large gatherings during campaigning, no walkabouts, and a restriction on travelling across state and district lines unless for emergencies.

“If we could, we would postpone any form of elections as we are also worried about having an election. 

“However if we have to, we use three principles. One is no crossing state or district lines, secondly no campaigning in large groups, and thirdly no walkabouts or home to home visits,” he said during his Covid-19 briefing.

The Chief Minister of Sarawak Abang Johari on November 3rd 2020 said this to an online mass media portal

Abang Johari reiterated that he was guided by the Health Ministry and experts as well as by the preparedness of the Election Commission to deal with the pandemic in deciding when to call the polls.

“Why should you rush? The people are more important. I have mentioned it before, we have always put the safety and health of the people and will only want to see the election be held if the situation allows us to.” 

He thus assured Sarawakians that the state government would not put their lives in danger, despite the nation’s constitution requiring the state election.

“Number one is the people’s health, number two is constitutional decision.

Due to the Emergency ruling on the Batu Sapi Parliamentary by elections netizens are up in Arms looking for answers.

Below please find an extracted statement from an online portal in which a Sarawak Federal Minister spoke to the press/media.

AN EMERGENCY can be declared in Sarawak to delay its state election but the Federal government must first discuss the matter with the state government.

Santubong MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that by right, the Cabinet should not decide on its own over any such emergency declaration.

He said in a statement that this was important as an emergency meant suspending the right of the people to give a mandate to the State Legislative Assembly and renewal of peoples’ mandate for the state government.

The Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives also emphasised that the authority over state elections through the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly was in the hands of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg and the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Under the Sarawak Constitution, the state must hold an election within 60 days after the dissolution of the state assembly,  either by a decision made by the Chief Minister or when the five-term lapses automatically.

Wan Junaidi said that when deciding to use emergency powers to extend the deadlines of the election due to a health crisis, natural disasters or other emergencies, all relevant agencies must sit and confer with Abang Johari before a decision is made.

“All parties including relevant agencies like the Election Commission, Ministry of Health, the police and army must discuss with the Chief Minister,” he said.