INTERACTIVE: Candidates and key facts of the Sarawak election

Election Commission staff Muhammad Rafid Baharuddin (left) and Abdillah Syafiq Hud arranging election materials including tape and stationery at the EC store in Kuching to be delivered to various state constituencies in Sarawak. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Sarawakians will head to the ballot box on Dec 18 to choose a new state government.

A total of 1,252,014 people are eligible to vote in the election with early voting on Dec 14. There are 82 seats in the state assembly, with 42 needed to form a simple majority.

The Sarawak Legislative Assembly was due to dissolve automatically on June 7 following the expiry of its term, but the state election was suspended due to the nationwide Emergency, which ended on Aug 1, and the subsequent Emergency in Sarawak from Aug 2 to Feb 2, 2022.

The emergency was then lifted on Nov 3, paving the way for the polls to be held.

The state's ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is widely favoured to retain its hold on the state in the coming elecion.

In the last state election 2016, GPS component party Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), which was then part of Barisan Nasional, won all the 40 seats it ran in, two of them uncontested.

The GPS coalition, which comprises PBB, Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and People's Development Party (PDP) was formed in 2018.

Following the death of then chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem in 2017, his wife Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu contested and won his Tanjong Datu seat.

The 2016 state election also saw Barisan Nasional fielding 13 direct candidates, 11 of whom won.

Of the 11, seven went on to join PBB.

The remaining four - along with two other assemblymen who contested in 2016 under PKR - are now with Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB).

The four PSB assemblymen who contested in 2016 as BN direct candidates are Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan) who is PSB president, Datuk Ranum Mina (Opar), Johnichal Rayong (Engkilili) and Datuk Tiong Thai King (Dudong).

The two from PKR are See Chee How (Batu Lintang) and Baru Bian (Ba'kelalan)

In July last year, DAP assemblyman Wong King Wei (Padungan) quit the party to become an independent.

In August last year, Krian assemblyman Datuk Ali Biju who won his seat in 2016 under a PKR ticket left to join Bersatu.

Two other seats are currently vacant, namely Baleh following the death of its assemblyman and deputy chief minister Tan Sri James Masing, as well as Pujut after assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon from DAP was disqualified by the Federal Court over the issue of citizenship.

Crowded field of contestants

The number of candidates contesting this time around has gone up by more than 50% to 349 compared to 229 in 2016.

Below are the number of multi-cornered fights:

The following are details on each of the 82 seats:
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