KUCHING: The Chief Minister and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) were all set to face the next state election as early as July last year — long before the Emergency Ordinance (EO) was promulgated in Jan this year.
However, Datuk Abang Johari Tun Openg has decided not to dissolve the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) then due to the worrying Covid-19 situation, said Deputy DUN Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala.
“CM and GPS have every intention to hold the state elections since July 2020 but were held back by the rising Covid-19 infection until today.
“It’s the people’s health and safety amidst the worrying Covid-19 situation that is holding the CM from dissolving the DUN,” he said in response to a statement by state PKR Information Chief Abun Sui Anyit alleging the CM and GPS of manipulating the EO to extend the term of DUN beyond June 6.
Sui has also suggested that the CM and GPS put Sarawak’s interest first and sought an audience with the Agong for an Order to be issued to dissolve the DUN by June 6.
Gerawat said Abang Johari took into account the seriousness of the Covid-19 situation and therefore decided not to have the state polls until it was safe to do so.
“The subsequent declaration of the Covid-19 related emergency in Jan this year by the Yang DiPertuan Agong has reaffirmed the wisdom of Abang Johari’s earlier decision not to hold the state election since July last year,” he added.
Gerawat said Sui’s allegation was not only baseless and ridiculous but also contradictory as he (Sui) himself acknowledged that only the Yang DiPertuan Agong had the authority to dissolve the DUN under the Emergency Ordinance 2021 (EO).
He said the GPS had full trust and confidence in the wisdom of the state’s TYT and CM as to the appropriate date for dissolving DUN and they did not need Sui’s advice or suggestion.
He said Sui seemed to be obsessed with the dissolution of DUN by June 6 so that the remuneration for ADUNs and ministers would not be paid after the date and state elections should be held within two months.
“His concept of Sarawak First, as described in his statement, is completely misconceived, self-serving and politically motivated as it is driven by the desire to have DUN dissolved by June 6 to pave the way for state elections regardless of the Covid-19 situation and the health and safety of the rakyat.
“As a lawyer, Abun Sui should read and understand Sect.15 and Sect.18 of the EO which supersede Article 21(3) and any other related provisions of our State Constitution,” he added.
Gerawat questioned how Sui could insist on applying the provisions of the State Constitution relating to dissolution of DUN when such provisions had been superseded by the EO, adding “He is barking at shadows or at the moon”.
He said the GPS concept of putting Sarawak First was all encompassing, taking into account the state’s legal and constitutional rights under MA63, State and Federal Constitutions and the overall interest and well-being of all Sarawakians.
Gerawat said the GPS, as a responsible government, would continue to respect and act in accordance with the laws of the country including the EO which effectively extended DUN’s term beyond June 6.
He also said the GPS would always put Sarawak First which included the health and safety of Sarawakians.
“Sui and PKR appear to be so desperate for DUN to be dissolved by June 6 so that state elections can be held within two months after dissolution of DUN. This makes us wonder why PKR is so anxious about the next state elections.”