EC: No idea on Sarawak poll dates

Solid presence: The Menara SPR in Putrajaya shaped after a ballot box.

Solid presence: The Menara SPR in Putrajaya shaped after a ballot box.

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission has “no idea” when the Sarawak elections will be held despite speculation that voters in the state will go to the ballot box by the end of April.

Its chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said the EC could not determine the dates for nomination, advanced voting or polling as it had not been notified on the dissolution of the state legislative assembly.

“It is rather amusing to receive messages from people giving us the election dates when we ourselves don’t know. The state assembly has not been dissolved, so how can we determine the dates?” he said.

Last month, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem made an unprecedented move when he made public the proposed dates for nomination day and polling day. He had announced April 18 and April 30 as the respective days.

However, Adenan said the final decision was up to the Election Commission.

In the last state election held in 2011, the state assembly was dissolved on March 21, nomination was held on April 6 and polling on April 16.

Hashim, however, refused to commit to the dates, reiterating that when Sarawak would go to polls would depend on when the state assembly was dissolved.

The current term of the state government expires on June 20.

“We are almost fully prepared to hold the election. We have conducted training for election workers and briefed political parties and security forces,” he said, adding that 21,000 people would be involved in the polls.

There are 1,141,294 people eligible to vote in the coming state election. A total of 81 seats are up for grabs after 11 new seats were drawn out by the EC to accommodate the population changes.

The EC also had a historic day yesterday when it finally moved into its own building after 58 years in service and shifting between five locations. The Menara SPR is located in Precinct 2 here. It is even shaped after a ballot box.

The building was opened by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and the ceremony was also attended by Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali and three former chairmen – Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman and Datuk Omar Mohamed Hashim.