Minister Best Time For Sarawak Polls Likely January Or March Next Year
Entrepreneur Development and Co-operatives Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who is part of the Sarawak ruling party, has suggested that the best time for the Sarawak election will likely be in January or March next year.
If this timeline is followed, the State legislative Assembly could be dissolved as early as this month. The election must be called within 60 days of dissolution.
Wan Junaidi said his party president Abang Johari Openg, who is also the Sarawak chief minister, has no choice but to eventually call the state election, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, as the State Assembly's term is near expiration, according to Borneo Post.
However, the PBB MP said the window to call for the election was limited.
"You must remember the constraints that our chief minister is facing. In December, we have Christmas, and if we were to have an election in December, it would not be fair to those celebrating Christmas. We never do that.
"Same thing with February, there will be Chinese New Year. Again, we cannot do that (election) in February as it's just not fair to those celebrating. The same thing with April, which is Ramadan, and Hari Raya in May. Then in June, we have Gawai.
"So you see, the window for the state election to be held is very limited. The only time I see available is in January or in March," Wan Junaidi was quoted as saying by Borneo Post.
Wan Junaidi said Abang Johari had a difficult choice to make.
"We cannot stop it (the election) unless there is a state of emergency. Therefore you cannot blame the chief minister for doing this (calling the state election) because he has no authority to stop the election," he said.
Wan Junaidi (photo, above) added that the Election Commission would also face challenges, as late 2020 and early 2021 is the monsoon season.
"And they (EC personnel) are using helicopters during this time of bad weather. It is not fair for them and very dangerous," he was quoted as saying.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin last month requested the declaration of a state of emergency but this was rejected by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Muhyiddin had argued that this was necessary to stop the Batu Sapi by-election and Sarawak state election during the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, critics have accused Muhyiddin of using the elections to shield his true purpose, which was to bulldoze Budget 2021 without going through Parliament after an emergency is declared, as they claim he has lost majority support in the House.
Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan had said the Batu Sapi by-election could be prevented if the incumbent party, Warisan, is given a walkover.
He had also pointed out that the Sarawak State Assembly term will only expire in June next year, which will trigger an automatic dissolution.
Considering that the election must be called within 60 days after dissolution, Mohamad had said the election could therefore be pushed back until August 2021.
"Imagine the implications if an emergency is declared to avoid the Sarawak election when it can be held, at the latest, after 10 months.
"I am confident in the Sarawak chief minister's wisdom, and I am certain he will consider the various dimensions of public interest when he dissolves the state assembly," Mohamad had said. - Mkini
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