KUCHING, Oct 12 — Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah believes the next state election should be held as soon as possible regardless of whether Undi18 is in effect.
He said he was unperturbed if Undi18 is in effect as the 12th Sarawak Election will need to be held sooner or later since the term of all 81 assemblypersons was supposed to end in June this year.
“If we see the scale of Covid-19 which has slowly dipped down, we are able to manage it nicely. I see nothing wrong in us moving forward because now we are on borrowed time as far as politics is concerned.
“We are supposed to have the DUN (State Legislative Assembly) automatically dissolved on June 6 but now we are still here. I don’t think some members of the public are happy.
“That is why I feel I am quite puzzled the opposition is not calling for election. Maybe they still want to enjoy the extra time ‘gaji’ (salary),” he said yesterday.
Sarawak is currently under the Emergency (Essential Powers) (Sarawak) Ordinance 2021 until February 1, 2022.
The DUN should have been dissolved on June 7 and subsequently August 2 pursuant to Article 21(3) of the State Constitution but this clause is suspended by Section 3(1) of the current Emergency (Essential Powers) (Sarawak) Ordinance 2021.
It had also been reported previously the Proclamation of Emergency is issued to suspend the election because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Abdul Karim, there is about three and half months left before the Emergency against Covid-19 imposed in the state is due to end on Feb 1.
“This does not mean the Emergency could not be lifted earlier than Feb 1. But somebody has got to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (on this),” he said.
He explained that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg would need to advise Sarawak Governor Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in consultation with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah for the Emergency to be lifted earlier.
On October 7, Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh urged Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) not to call for the 12th State Election (PRN12) amid the ongoing pandemic.
Wong had said in a statement the ruling coalition must not prioritise politics over the health and general wellbeing of Sarawakians, more so with the state consistently recording the highest number of daily Covid-19 infections in the country.
According to Wong, he had been informed by trusted sources that there is an ongoing movement within GPS itself to hold PRN12 soon due to the recent High Court decision to allow 18-year-olds to vote (Undi18).
Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen in a separate statement on Oct 10 said it would be “reckless and heartless” for GPS to call for an election before the end of this year.
Abdul Karim reiterated that Undi18 will be implemented in time to allow those aged 18 to 21 to vote in the state election.
“As it is, the next state election, that one (Undi18) will be applicable.
“The automatic registration is ongoing. I even checked on my son who is 18 years old and his name is already inside (electoral roll).
“It is a question of when EC (Election Commission) wants to gazette the date,” he said. — Borneo Post Online