Co-operate to avoid election amidst pandemic

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Gerald Rentap Jabu

GERALD Rentap Jabu (PBB-Layar) has called for co-operation from opposition leaders in the state to avoid holding a state election amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I ask of the opposition leader Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh (PSB-Bawang Assan) and Sarawak DAP (Democratic Action Party) leader Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa), both of whom have made public their concerns on the impact of Covid-19 in a state election.

“Now is the time. Make your stance. Because of Covid-19, let us unite. There is no difference between your life and mine. I want to live. Do you?” he said in a poem of sorts on Wednesday.

This came following Rentap’s proposal last Monday for amendment to the Sarawak Constitution to extend the term of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) until it is safe to hold a state election.

Explaining further, he said his proposal was to insert a new clause to the Sarawak Constitution, to state that due to the impact of Covid-19, the term of the current DUN be extended until either six years from the date of its first sitting, unless sooner dissolved; or on a date on which the Federal Parliament is next dissolved.

He explained that the proposal was not without precedence.

“To facilitate the delineation of constituencies for Sarawak’s first direct elections, the amendment to the Federal Constitution in 1968, in force from 9th September, extended the term of the Council Negeri existing in 1968 beyond a period of five years to be dissolved together with the Federal Parliament in 1969.

“Subsequently the amendment to the Sarawak Constitution in 1968, inserted a new clause (3A) to Article 21 of the Sarawak Constitution,” he said.

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