Covid-19: King can stop Sarawak election if necessary

Pic from FMT

By Emma Victoria

YANG di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has the power to declare an emergency to stop the Sarawak election if the Covid-19 situation remains unstable when the state assembly expires in June next year.

PBB Information Chief Datuk Idris Buang said however the emergency in Batu Sapi, Sabah, involved one constituency only as it was a by-election.

“In the case of Sarawak election, it is a state election. Hence, any emergency declaration has to be on the whole state.”

It would be difficult and impracticable to declare an emergency on one or a few constituencies (badly affected by Covid-19), while leaving other parts or constituencies not affected,” he said in a statement.

The Muara Tuang assemblyan said it would be difficult to manage the movement of the voters as well.

“Besides, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari has stressed that the lives and safety of the people is of paramount importance.

Thus, all provisions regarding the election under our Sarawak and Federal Constitutions would be ‘suspended’ for that period of the emergency until it is lifted,” he added.

Meanwhile, Serian MP Datuk Richard Riot said the proclamation of emergency for the Batu Sapi parliamentary constituency is a wise decision.

“The safety of the people should be the top priority and everyone plays a role in the country’s battle against Covid-19,” he said.

Riot, also the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to East Asia  said the government and the people must work together to combat the spread of the virus.

On Wednesday, the King made a Proclamation of Emergency for the Batu Sapi Parliamentary constituency, in effect cancelling the by-election for the seat.