Sarawak polls: Cooperation of telcos needed for online campaigning to succeed, says Annuar

MELAKA: The upcoming Sarawak state election needs the help of telecommunications companies to make online campaigning a success, says Tan Sri Annuar Musa.

The Communications and Multimedia Minister said this was necessary to give all parties the opportunity to conduct their online campaigns, as practised in the current Melaka state election.

“So for the purpose of the elections, which we expect to be held anytime soon in December, this is an important step.

“Again, we need the cooperation of telcos to go to areas that have less commercial appeal as they are less populated.

"All areas must be given a chance so that the (political) parties can carry out their online campaigns,” he said on Sunday (Nov 14).

He added that unlike Melaka, where Internet usage was based on three factors namely tourism, schools and the election, Sarawak was hampered by the problem of coverage, especially in rural areas that do not have Internet service.

“So we have agreed to increase satellite broadband usage but, for the elections, we want to see in more detail which are the areas and what are the problems ... I will go there (Sarawak) next week.

“We will ensure that all main centres, especially the counting centres, have Internet facilities. This is so that we can have coverage from all polling areas, but not for entire villages (yet).

“Because over there, under the National Digital Network (Jendela), we have just issued letters for work on phase one, which requires more than 600 towers to be installed throughout Sarawak and that will take some time,” he said.

The Election Commission (EC) will hold a special meeting on the 12th Sarawak state election on Nov 24 in Kuching.

On Nov 3, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah consented to the lifting of the Proclamation of Emergency on Sarawak, which came into effect on Aug 2.

The revocation of the Emergency Proclamation indirectly paved the way for the state election to be held with the term of the current state government having expired on June 6.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced on Nov 5 that the Sarawak state assembly had been dissolved effective Nov 3, with the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, paving the way for the state election. – Bernama

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