KUCHING: Sarawakian voters living outside the state have been urged to return to vote in the general election, even if it means sacrificing their annual Gawai trip home.
"There will be many more Gawai celebrations in the future, but there is only one chance to change the destiny of our nation," state PKR chairman Baru Bian said.
He called on employers to encourage their workers to fulfil their duty as voters and allow them to take leave to go home and cast their votes.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has announced that Parliament will be dissolved on Saturday (April 7), paving the way for the 14th General Election to be held within 60 days.
Some 150,000 registered voters from Sarawak and Sabah are estimated to live and work in peninsular Malaysia. Many of them usually return home on festive occasions like Gawai, which falls on June 1 and 2.
Baru also urged youths to step up and let their voices be heard at the ballot box, noting that voter turnout among the younger generation was low in the last election.
"It is their future which is at stake and they are the ones who can bring change," he said in a statement on Friday (April 6).
In addition, Baru said the Sarawak government should not misuse its immigration autonomy to ban political leaders from the peninsula from entering the state.
He said the immigration law clearly stated that entry should not be denied to those coming for legitimate political purposes.
"If the Sarawak leaders want to be respected as mature leaders who understand the concept of democracy, they must first behave in the appropriate manner," he added.
On Wednesday Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu was barred from entering Sarawak to attend a party meeting.
He was previously denied entry in 2016 during the run-up to the state election.
The Sarawak government has stopped various politicians from entering the state, including Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tsin, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, Seremban MP Anthony Loke, Sabah STAR party president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Sungai Besar Umno chief Datuk Jamal Yunos.
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