KUCHING: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may lift the Emergency in Sarawak before February 2 next year to pave the way for state election to be held provided several important conditions are met.
Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew pointed out the important conditions would include Sarawak achieving 80 percent herd immunity, low Covid-19 transmissions among the community and capability of public healthcare system based on the bed utilisation rate in intensive care unit (ICU) wards.
“Moreover, the Election Commission (EC) must come out with a clear standard operating procedure (SOP) in the conduct of nomination, election campaign, polling as well as during counting to ensure the safety of voters and election officers,” he said.
Ting welcomed the proclamation of emergency for Sarawak in order to prevent the risk of further increase in Covid-19 if the state election was to be held during the current pandemic.
“We have always emphasised that fighting the Covid-19 pandemic is always the top priority because saving lives and ensuring the safety as well as health of the people are more important than anything else.
“In the next six months, there will be no election issues so the state government can continue to focus on fighting the pandemic and reviving the economy,” he said.
The Piasau assemblyman noted that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and state government supported the extension of emergency to suspend the state election solely due to health reason.
“We know that in any democratic society, we must have elections to seek fresh mandate from the people. Elections are certainly important and a sacred democratic process, but the safety of the people must remain top priority in our decisions.
“Therefore, the six months extension of state of emergency will give Sarawak extra breathing space to further control the Covid-19 pandemic, enhance our vaccination programme to achieve higher vaccinated population and the reopening of more businesses such as tourism activities in Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan (NRP),” he said.