GPS collecting feedback from relevant agencies before deciding on state polls

  • Nation
  • Monday, 02 Nov 2020

The Sarawak State Assembly complex seen in state capital Kuching. -Stephen pic

MIRI: The ruling state government of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is seeking feedback from all relevant government bodies, before deciding on whether to call for the 12th Sarawak state election middle of this month.

Sources told The Star on Monday (Nov 2) that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg has sought advice from state and federal agencies like the police, army, the Election Commission (EC), the Health Ministry and the Education Ministry, as well as local agencies at the district and divisional levels.

"Johari wants to hear from them if it is viable to hold the state elections during this coming late November to early December period.

"The advice from the EC is to get its views on whether it is viable to conduct public polls in this vast state at this period of time when the Covid-19 pandemic is surging and the landas (monsoon) season is peaking.

"The Health Ministry is being asked to provide details of projected Covid-19 trends in the coming weeks and what needs to be done to prevent an explosion of infections if the state polls are carried out.

"The Health Ministry is also being asked if it is too risky for a state election now.

"The Education Ministry will need to give permission for schools to be used as balloting stations on polling day.

"The views of the police and army are vital for safety and security for the whole state during the run-up to the nomination and during the campaigning proper and polling day," said the source.

Johari is GPS chairman and president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB).

The current term of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly automatically expires on June 7, next year.

The EC will have 60 days from that dissolution date to hold the state polls.

However, there are strong indications that Johari has told PBB ground leaders that the dissolution may take place midway through the state assembly session between Nov 9 to Nov 18.

PBB Baram Youth chief Dennis Ngau, when asked on this by The Star on Monday, said Johari has urged all GPS leaders to be ready for polls.

"Yes, the feedback from all the relevant state and federal agencies are being sought.

"The Covid-19 situation and the current weather are among the main factors being considered by the CM," said Ngau who is Telang Usan state assemblyman.

GPS now controls 68 of the 82 state constituencies in the state.

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