No need for emergency declaration in Sarawak

Voon Lee Shan – New Sarawak Tribune Pix

By John Isaac

THE Covid-19 situation in Sarawak does not warrant an emergency declaration, said Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan.

He said under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, for emergency to be declared, the three prerequisites are a threat to national security; economic life and to public order.

“The Covid-19 pandemic at the moment is not sufficient to close businesses and factories that could put all economic activities to a standstill. There is no situation that could threaten public order in Sarawak too.

“Sarawak is a peaceful place and all citizens could go in and out of their home safely. There are not many places classified as red zones.

“Therefore, it is foreseeable that all these three situations will not happen between now and until June 6 next year for the King to declare emergency,” he said as reported in the New Sarawak Tribune.

Voon pointed out that Sarawak election is a local affair and the term of the Sarawak Legislature (DUN) is determined by the Sarawak Constitution.

“The current term will expire on June 6, 2021. There is no provision in the Sarawak Constitution for the Governor to declare emergency to prolong the life of DUN.

“The power to declare emergency is in the hands of the King and this power is in the Federal Constitution, adding that the latter could not act outside the powers given in the Constitution,” he said.

He added given the present situation which does not warrant an emergency, it would be interesting if a challenge is made in court should an emergency be declared in Sarawak to defer its elections.