Sarawak will hold state polls if Covid-19 situation improves and Emergency is lifted, says CM

KUCHING: Sarawak will be able to hold its state election if the Covid-19 situation in the state improves and the Emergency is lifted earlier, says Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The Chief Minister said the state had to comply with the nationwide Emergency proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, which is in effect until Aug 1.

"If the King is convinced that there has been a lot of improvement, he can issue another proclamation.

"Let's say Sarawak is improving and the numbers go down, he can proclaim that maybe Sarawak is okay now, so (in) a part of Malaysia (the Emergency) can be lifted," he told reporters after visiting flood victims at a relief centre at Kampung Segedup here on Thursday (Jan 14).

Abang Johari said Sarawak was currently reporting three-digit daily figures of Covid-19 because of the Pasai cluster, which stemmed from a funeral at Pasai Siong, Sibu, on Dec 29-31.

"We're doing a lot of swabbing (for the cluster), so naturally the figure will go up.

"If we can contain that and the figure comes down, then it's up to them (the authorities) to see our situation.

"If they say the Emergency can be lifted in Sarawak, then election lah (sic)," he said.

Under the state constitution, an election must be held within 60 days from the dissolution of the state legislative assembly.

As the legislature's current term ends on June 6, an election must be called by Aug 5 at the latest.

On the flood situation, Abang Johari called on the public to be on alert as heavy rain had been forecast for Sarawak until Sunday (Jan 17).

He also urged those in flood-prone areas to be ready for evacuation if necessary and to comply with Covid-19 SOPs in relief centres.

"I have instructed the state disaster management committee to monitor the situation at relief centres. The Health Department will advise the committee on whether any evacuees need to be isolated.

"We are taking precautions and conducting surveillance at the centres, including temperature checks," he said.

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