By S. Harrish
AN EMERGENCY can be declared in Sarawak to delay its state election but the Federal government must first discuss the matter with the state government.
Santubong MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that by right, the Cabinet should not decide on its own over any such emergency declaration.
He said in a statement that this was important as an emergency meant suspending the right of the people to give a mandate to the State Legislative Assembly and renewal of peoples’ mandate for the state government.
The Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives also emphasised that the authority over state elections through the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly was in the hands of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg and the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Under the Sarawak Constitution, the state must hold an election within 60 days after the dissolution of the state assembly, either by a decision made by the Chief Minister or when the five-term lapses automatically.
According to the Dayak Daily, Wan Junaidi said that when deciding to use emergency powers to extend the deadlines of the election due to a health crisis, natural disasters or other emergencies, all relevant agencies must sit and confer with Abang Johari before a decision is made.
“All parties including relevant agencies like the Election Commission, Ministry of Health, the police and army must discuss with the Chief Minister,” he said.