KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has dismissed the Opposition's allegations that the state government is rushing to hold the state election in order to avoid Undi18.
He said the state government respected Undi18 but needed to seek a new mandate from the people as the Sarawak Legislative Assembly's term was supposed to expire in June.
"We are now in injury time. If we don't hold the election soon, some people will question why we are still governing when we don't have the mandate.
"But if we go to the people for a fresh mandate, (people will assume) it is apparently because we are afraid of Undi18," he told reporters after launching the Meet in Malaysia roadshow by the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau and Business Events Sarawak here Friday (Oct 22).
Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) and Sarawak Pakatan Harapan had claimed that the state government wanted to hold the polls soon due to fears over the implementation of Undi18 by Dec 31.
Abang Johari said the state government's position was very clear in respecting democracy and Undi18.
He noted that the government amended the state constitution last year to lower the age of persons qualified to stand in a state election from 21 to 18 years.
This was in tandem with a similar amendment to the Federal Constitution, which was made along with the lowering of the voting age to 18 years.
"To us, the mandate has expired and we are just waiting for penalty kicks," he added.
The Sarawak Legislative Assembly's term was due to end on June 6 but the state election was put off during the nationwide Emergency which ended on Aug 1.
Sarawak is currently under a localised Emergency from Aug 2 until Feb 2 next year to further suspend the polls.