Polls during pandemic: Is GPS trying to steal the election?

The elections in Sabah last year led to the third wave of Covid-19 cases. – The Star photo

By Chew Lip Song

THE ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and its lynchpin, the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), are playing on voters’ fear of Covid-19 by attempting to hold the state polls despite the pandemic, a state DAP leader has claimed.

Michael Kong, a special assistant to Sarawak DAP chairman, said this could explain why GPS is gearing up for the polls, with the PBB Women’s wings recently setting up an election operations room.

“With this fear, it is most likely that the voter turnout will be low and this would naturally bode well for the ruling government which can rely on postal votes from the police and army personnel.

“This attempt to steal democracy from the people should not be allowed and must be put to a stop,” he said in a statement.

He added that the GPS should not take advantage of the current Covid-19 pandemic to maintain its grip on Sarawak.

Kong also said that GPS should also stop using examples like New Zealand and Singapore to justify why elections could be held safely in Sarawak.

In those countries, he added, the governments enforced strict lockdown restrictions which yielded desirable results whereas local leaders were busy politicking.

Recently, the PBB Women’s Wing Supreme Council has launched its election operation room.

Sarawak’s legislature automatically dissolves in June, while state elections must be called by August. However, last month a nationwide health emergency was declared, with all legislatures suspended.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing has said that the state cabinet plans to appeal to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong to lift the Emergency in Sarawak when the Covid-19 pandemic is under control, so that the state polls can be carried out.

In recent weeks, Covid-19 cases have shot up in Sarawak, including 178 new  cases, bringing the total to 5,272. Four new deaths were also reported yesterday, with the death toll in the state now at 48.

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