With Tickets Costing Up To Six Times More Muda Worried About Flights For Sarawak Polls
Several concerns need to be addressed amid the Sarawak government's insistence to hold its state polls amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said Sarawak Muda.
This was after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong yesterday lifted the localised emergency in Sarawak which suspended the state polls until February 2022, paving way for a fresh election within 60 days.
Sarawak Muda said among the concerns include the cost of flights, which have jumped due to limited trips during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Ensure the price of tickets is reasonable so that Sarawakians can (return to) vote in their constituency and proper procedure for those under quarantine to vote to ensure they are not left out," it said in a statement.
Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong on Tuesday reported to Parliament that flight tickets between Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak were costing up to six times more between Nov 2 and Nov 8.
“The higher ticket prices to Sarawak are the result of the implementation of flight capacity limits by the state government as part of its effort to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he had said.
Sarawak Muda questioned the state government's rush in trying to hold the state polls before next year, when the new voting age of 18, which is lowered from 21, will take effect.
Automatic voter registration will also come into force next year.
Critics have accused the Sarawak government of rushing the state polls to prevent these new cohorts of voters from voting.
Sarawak Muda noted that even though the king had lifted the emergency, he expressed concern about its impact on the Covid-19 pandemic if the state polls were held.
The ruler had said it was a "difficult and complicated" decision but lifted the emergency after consultation with Sarawak governor Abdul Taib Mahmud despite his reservations.
"Sarawak Muda agrees with his majesty's concerns about the risk of increasing the spread of Covid-19 if the Sarawak polls are held," it said, noting that the hospitalisation rate in the state is also still significant.
Sarawak Muda said if the election is to proceed, there must be sufficient time to vote or sufficient voting centres to avoid overcrowding.
It added that health officers must be present, including in interior areas.
Furthermore, it said campaigning should be fully digital. - Mkini
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