KUCHING: Sarawak police are ready to assist in the coming state election, in compliance with Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), says state police commissioner Comm Datuk Aidi Ismail.
He said police had been making preparations for the polls since June, and this includes taking the SOPs into consideration.
"Under the new normal, there are several procedures we need to adopt, such as physical distancing and wearing PPE (personal protective equipment).
"We have started placing orders to make sure that police personnel who will be at the frontlines during the election will have sufficient PPE, so that what happened in Sabah will not occur in Sarawak," he told reporters after witnessing the handover of duty involving the state deputy police commissioner and CID chief here on Tuesday (Nov 17).
Covid-19 cases spiked in Sabah following its state election on Sept 26, leading to concerns of a similar situation in Sarawak should the polls be held during the pandemic.
The Sarawak legislative assembly's term expires next June, but there has been speculation that the state election could be held earlier.
Comm Aidi also said Sarawak police were unlikely to be beefed up by personnel from elsewhere for the election due to Covid-19.
"So far, I've been made to understand that we will not receive assistance from outside. Insya-Allah, with our current strength we can assist the state government in holding the election smoothly," he said.
He added that police would rent assets where necessary, such as four-wheel-drive vehicles and longboats to travel to remote polling stations.
"We have submitted a budget proposal to Bukit Aman for the rental of these assets," he said.
On the handover of duty, Comm Aidi welcomed new deputy commissioner Dep Comm Datuk Fisol Salleh, who takes over from Dep Comm Datuk Dev Kumar.
"I believe that with his knowledge and experience, he will contribute towards keeping Sarawak safe and peaceful," he said.
He also thanked outgoing state CID chief Senior Asst Comm Denis Leong for his service in the last two and half years.
He said Leong, who has been transferred to Bukit Aman as deputy director of narcotics (enforcement/general policing), oversaw many successes during his time, among them combating illegal gambling.
Leong said Sarawak ranked top in conducting successful gambling raids with 2,208 raids from Jan 1 to Nov 9, resulting in 3,118 arrests.
He said 1,624 raids were carried out against online gambling activities, 25 against gambling call centres, illegal lotteries (459), gambling in buildings (26), gambling in public places (73), and one raid under the Betting Act.
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