Abdul Karim says polls should proceed as people need to learn to live with Covid

Pic from FMT

By S. Harrish

PARTI Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah expects the Sarawak elections to be held by late September this year.

He said this despite some calling for the polls to be further postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Abdul Karim said this was because nobody wanted to stay in power without the people’s mandate.

“I don’t think I want to stay on as a ‘wakil rakyat’ without the mandate from the people, as they have the right to determine who should be the government,” he said, according to a Dayak Daily report.

The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture said the GPS coalition was given five years to rule as the government, and that period has expired over a month ago on June 6.

With the Emergency due to end on Aug 1, he said the polls should not be deferred any further.

“This is my personal opinion, but it’s anybody’s guess. I read in the news that quite a number of politicians, whether from the government or opposition, have requested for the elections to be postponed further.

“But, we must understand the rights of citizens. This is a parliamentary right. We do not want to hold onto power on the pretext of pandemic emergency,” he said.

“What happens if the Covid-19 pandemic continues for the next five years? Can the people of Sarawak wait any longer?” he asked.

Abdul Karim, who is also Minister of Youth and Sports, said Covid-19 will continue to be a part of everyone’s lives in the years to come, thus it is only right to hold elections with strict SOP and proper restrictions.

“Of course, the people’s health comes first but there are several countries that have held elections in the past year. We can learn from them,” he said.

State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen has called for a localised emergency so that the polls can be further delayed until the pandemic is brought under control.

Several Sarawak politicians from both sides of the political divide have agreed with the proposal.