Sarawak polls not imminent, says GPS lawmaker

Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. - Filepic/The Star

KUCHING: The Sarawak state election does not have to be called within 60 days of the revocation of all Emergency Ordinances on July 21, says Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

The GPS lawmaker said this was because the Emergency was still in place until Aug 1 and only after then would the Sarawak legislative assembly be dissolved.

He said the Emergency Ordinances, which were formulated to regulate various issues during the Emergency, were a separate matter from the declaration of emergency.

"What was announced in Parliament yesterday (July 26) was the revocation of the Emergency Ordinances, while the declaration of emergency is still intact and if not earlier revoked will automatically end on Aug 1.

"Therefore, the Sarawak legislative assembly which was suspended from the date the emergency was declared on Jan 12, will lapse at one minute after midnight on Aug 1, unless the Prime Minister, after consultation with the Chief Minister of Sarawak, advises the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that a new Emergency be declared," Wan Junaidi, who is a lawyer, said when contacted on Tuesday (July 27).

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan told Parliament on Monday (July 26) the government had revoked all six Emergency Ordinances made this year on July 21.

He also said the government would not be advising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to proclaim a new nationwide emergency after the current one ends on Aug 1.

The Sarawak legislative assembly's five-year term was due to end on June 6 this year, following which the state election must be called within 60 days, but this was suspended due to the Emergency.

The state government was also advised by the King to continue functioning as normal during the Emergency period.

Wan Junaidi said the Prime Minister could advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare an Emergency for Sarawak after Aug 1 to further postpone the state election if appropriate, based on advice from the Health Ministry on the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak.

He noted that the Sabah state election last September had caused a second wave of Covid-19 in the country.

"If the Health Ministry advises that it is not safe to hold an election, then Sarawak ought not to hold an election to avoid another spike.

"My feeling is the same as Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni on this issue. We should not have the election under the prevailing circumstances," he added.

Lukanisman told Parliament on Monday that the state election should be postponed to prevent another Covid-19 crisis, particularly as the Delta variant has emerged in the country, including in Sarawak.

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