Automatic dissolution on Aug 1 if EO not extended

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: The State Legislative Assembly (DUN) term will automatically dissolve on August 1, 2021 if there is no extension of the nationwide emergency.

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said when the emergency ends on Aug 1, the 12th State Election must be held within 60 days from that date.

“The term of the present DUN as stipulated in the Federal Constitution and State Constitution is five years which ends on June 6, 2021, which is now superseded by the Emergency Ordinance 2021.

“Upon its dissolution, the law stipulates that an election must be held within 60 days from the date of dissolution.

“However, due to the emergency being imposed now, the emergency powers override the constitution,” he said.

The Asajaya assemblyman stressed that the emergency was proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“If, on Aug 1, the pandemic has not subsided in Sarawak and the King feels that it is not safe for the state election to be held, he may proclaim further extension to the emergency and the state election will be further delayed,” he opined.

On the question of when is the right time for the election to be held, Abdul Karim said that it depended on the Covid-19 situation in the state.

“The safety of the people is of utmost importance and that should not be compromised.

“We also hope that with the extensive vaccination programme being done, it could bring down the spike of Covid-19 cases and thus make way for the election to be held safely,” he said.

The Chief Minister Office (CMO) in a statement on May 25 said that Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah after looking at the rather worrying situation of Covid-19, has advised the Sarawak Government to function as usual with the powers under the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021.

This was after leaders of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government, led by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, had an audience with the King via online meeting regarding the DUN term and the 12th State Election.

The statement also said that following the declaration of emergency on January 11 until August 1, the power to dissolve the Sarawak DUN falls under the jurisdiction of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after consultation with Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in accordance with Article 13 and Article 15 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021.

In line with the authority of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the chief minister has handed over the decision to dissolve the Sarawak DUN on an appropriate date at the discretion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong together with the Head of State of Sarawak after receiving advice from the Attorney-General, Election Commission (EC), Health Ministry, Royal Malaysian Police, and Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM).