Sarawak election can’t be avoided as mandate expires in April

Covid-19 election (Selangor Journal Pic)

By Emma Victoria

THE Sarawak government will seek advice from the Health Ministry before deciding a suitable time to hold the state election.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak prioritised the health of the people and the state’s economy, and reiterated that the ruling coalition was not crazy for power.

He said GPS will seek advice from the Health Ministry, experts and other authorities before dissolving the state assembly.

He added that it was not that they wanted to have an election during the Covid-19 pandemic but it was unavoidable.

“Even if I don’t dissolve the state assembly now, it will be automatically dissolved in April as our mandate has expired and the state election must be held by June.

“So, can anyone guarantee that the Covid-19 situation will be better next year? Who can tell me there will be less cases than now?” he asked after announcing the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang 4.0 at Wisma Bapa in Kuching today.

“We have strengthened the security of our borders, imposed strict SOPs for those entering Sarawak and implemented various aid programs to protect our people and help the state economy to recover.

“Of course we want to continue keeping Sarawak safe from Covid-19 but we will not have the mandate once our term expires in April. So, we need to have an election,” he said.

Abang Johari said this was a complex situation where he had to weigh between the safety of the people and the need for the government to have the mandate to manage the pandemic, the state’s administration and its economy.

“I don’t want Sarawak to become like Sabah (after the state polls), thus we need better SOPs. The Election Commission can improve some of the guidelines to ensure an election can be conducted in a safer environment,” he added.