Sarawak polls situation is different from Singapore – Yii

By Emma Victoria

THE situation in Sarawak is very much different from Singapore and New Zealand as the two countries were able to hold their elections without a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said it was not as simple as controlling or closing the border to prevent Covid-19 spread if the state government wants to call for an election now.

“For an election to be held here, we need the Election Commission (EC) officers and other authorities, especially policemen, from other states to enter Sarawak.

“They will be mobilised throughout the state, especially in villages and longhouses that are scattered around Sarawak. So, we cannot compare Sarawak with Singapore and New Zealand,” he said.

“Sarawak is almost the size of Peninsula Malaysia and to carry out an election, it will require a lot of man power.

“If we look at those who are expected to come in, it will definitely increase the risk of the virus being brought in to the state,” he said in a statement.

Dr Yii was responding to Local Government and Housing Minister that Sarawak won’t become like Sabah but will be similar to Singapore and New Zealand.

“Besides, how about Sarawakian voters who are working or studying in other states or countries?

“We can’t deny them entry and their rights to vote. If we were to put them on a 14-day quarantine just to cast a vote on the polling date, many might decide not to come back,” he said.

“This is against the spirit of democracy, where we should find ways to allow everyone the right to exercise their vote,” he added.

Dr Yii said Singapore is a small country, with almost all the manpower to run the elections being internally mobilised.

“In New Zealand, they postponed the election once due to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases. They only called for an election after they recorded zero cases for 10 days,” he said.

He said since the Sarawak government’s mandate only ends in June next year, there is no rush and justification for the elections to be held soon.

“Although the Covid-19 cases in Sarawak now may seem low, no one can predict the trend in the future especially if there is a new hidden cluster,” he said.

“The main focus has to be on curbing the virus, protecting people’s lives and their livelihood instead of calling for an election,” he said.