Sarawak Polls: Anwar calls for review of campaign rules

KUCHING: The Election Commission has been urged to review the standard operating procedures (SOP) for the Sarawak state election.

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that although the world was still facing the Covid-19 pandemic, the election process should not be hindered.

Anwar said the EC had said that it would study the SOP.

However, he said that the study was not published after the Melaka state election, which concluded on Nov 20.

"The EC should be proactive and discuss with political party representatives contesting in the state election," he said on Monday (Dec 6).

Anwar also claimed the latest SOP was not made based on medical evidence.

"Critical discussions on the SOP must be conducted," he said.

He also questioned if there would be equal media access for all political parties and candidates.

The latest SOP by the EC, among others, allows physical ceramah in 64 seats identified as having poor Internet coverage.

Physical ceramah will be held under strict SOP to curb Covid-19, which includes requiring all attendees to be fully vaccinated and to undergo RTK antigen self-testing before the event.

The SOP also sets a limit of 50% of the premises' capacity or a maximum of 150 people at one time.

Organisers are required to apply for a permit from the police and state the location and date of the event.

It is also restricted to two hours and cannot go past 10pm.

Interstate travel to Sarawak for the purposes of campaigning will not be allowed and only five top leaders from contesting parties will be allowed to enter the state.

The list of designated leaders who will travel to the state must be submitted to the state's disaster management committee.

Meanwhile, candidates and party machineries will be allowed to hand out flyers and campaign materials to voters, subject to strict SOP, where they must conduct an RTK AG self-test before reaching out to voters.

Physical ceramah will remained banned at some 18 urban state seats, including Padungan, Batu Kawa, Pending, Satok, and Kota Sentosa in Kuching; Pelawan in Sibu; Tanjung Batu in Bintulu; and Piasau, Pujut and Senadin in Miri.

The 64 state seats where limited physical campaigning is allowed are constituencies mostly located in the interiors of Sarawak.

Among them are Tanjong Datu, Stakan, Telang Usan, Mambong, Bawang Assan, Baleh, Ba'Kelalan, and Gedong.

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Anwar Ibrahim , SOP , EC , Campaigning , Ceramah


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