KUCHING: The King has consented to lift the Emergency in Sarawak earlier than its scheduled end next February, paving the way for the state election to be held.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah agreed to the decision after receiving a request from Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud during an audience on Tuesday (Nov 2), followed by a meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Wednesday (Nov 3).
"After considering the request of the Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri and the advice of the Prime Minister as well as the Attorney General and relevant government agency heads, His Majesty consented to end the Emergency Proclamation in Sarawak.
"The decision is made in line with Articles 40 and 40(1A) of the Federal Constitution," Acting Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Azuan Effendy Zairakithnaini said in a statement on Wednesday (Nov 3).
He added that based on Section 2 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) (Sarawak) Ordinance 2021, the King could lift the Emergency earlier after consulting with the Sarawak Governor.
Azuan said the King expressed his concern over the risk of a Covid-19 spike should the Sarawak state election be held.
"In His Majesty's opinion, the country is still facing the threat of Covid-19 and the pandemic is still at a worrying level.
"His Majesty's consent to end the Emergency Proclamation was a difficult decision.
"Nevertheless, the consent was given in order to fulfil the requirements of democracy and return the power to the people to choose and give their mandate to the formation of a new state government," he said.
Azuan said the King also emphasised that the safety and wellbeing of the people must be prioritised above personal and political interests.
Besides Taib and Ismail Sabri, he said the King also met Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Azizan Harun, Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Election Commission chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh and National Security Council director-general Datuk Rodzi Md Saad.
The Sarawak legislative assembly's term was due to expire on June 7 this year, after which the state election must be held within 60 days, but this was suspended due to the nationwide Emergency which was lifted on Aug 2.
On July 30, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong proclaimed a localised Emergency for Sarawak from Aug 2 to Feb 2 next year to further suspend the state election and contain the spread of Covid-19.