Sarawak gearing up for snap state elections, say sources


  • Nation
  • Monday, 22 Jun 2020

Sarawak State Assembly complex in Kuching. Snap state elections is expected soon. -Photo by Stephen

MIRI: Political parties in Sarawak are gearing up for snap elections in the state with the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition considering the dissolution of the state assembly, according to sources.

They told The Star that the 12th Sarawak state elections would “definitely” be called if Parliament is dissolved at the national level.

High-level sources in GPS have said that Sarawak will time its state elections to coincide with the general election because of the current political uncertainties at the federal level.

A source has said that Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg is already discussing with the Election Commission (EC) on preparations for a sudden dissolution of the state assembly.

"As the chairman of the ruling state government, Abang Johari has spoken to the EC on GPS’ plans to time the state elections with the national general election if Parliament is dissolved and we have been told to be ready," said one source.

The source added that this would mean that Sarawak DAP, PKR and Amanah will have a tougher task at hand as their leaders at the national level are preoccupied with political problems.

"This is advantageous to GPS," said the source.

Sarawak is the only state that holds its state elections separately from polls in other states, and the current term of Sarawak's state assembly only ends in June 2021.

Sarawak has 82 state constituencies and 31 parliamentary seats.

Out of the 82 state seats, GPS controls 68 while Sarawak DAP has seven and PKR had three, but the assemblymen have since left to join the independent Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) political group which currently has seven seats.

GPS component parties are Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak, Progressive Democratic Party and Sarawak United Peoples Party.

Out of the 31 Sarawak parliamentary constituencies, GPS has 18 seats, while the Pakatan Harapan parties have 12 and there is one independent MP.

When contacted, Sarawak PKR vice president Dr Teo Yu Keng also said on Monday that PKR expects snap elections in Sarawak.

"Yes, we heard that Abang Johari already spoke to the EC on this matter, and we in.

“We in Sarawak PKR are in a rush to get ready for state polls at very short notice," he said.

Meanwhile, when asked recently, PBB Wanita chief Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said her wing is ready for any snap elections.

"The prerogative (to dissolve state assembly) is with the Chief Minister, and we are ready," she said.

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