EC meeting: Focus on state election date and other important matters

EC SPR
BY ADAMRIZ SHAFIK

KUCHING: In the Election Commission (EC) special meeting today, several important matters will be the focus not only of political parties but the people.

The meeting, which will be headed by EC chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh, is scheduled to begin at 9am at the Hilton Hotel here.

He is also expected to hold a special press conference immediately after the meeting.

What results can be expected in the meeting? Of course, the important dates of the Sarawak 12th state election.

They include the date of the election writ, the nomination day, the campaign and voting period as well as the electoral roll to be used.

Among others that will be the focus and main attraction are the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that will be used during the period.

In the recent Melaka state election, the main guideline set by the EC was that no physical or conventional campaign could  be held to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections.

 The matter was also announced by the Ministry of Health earlier which did not allow any politically related public gathering activities.

Now, how will the SOPs be implemented in Sarawak?

In terms of size, the geographical situation between Melaka and Sarawak is very different.

Therefore, the EC should evaluate any possibility from various aspects regarding the use of the same SOPs in Sarawak or make changes as appropriate to the state.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in the Dewan Rakyat stated that the EC would announce the SOPs.

The SOPs for the Sarawak election, he said, would also take into account the feedback on the effectiveness of the SOPs during the Melaka election last Saturday.

“They include Covid-19 prevention in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, police, National Security Council (MKN) and the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC),” he said when winding-up speech on the Supply Bill 2022 (Budget 2022) for Prime Minister’s Department.

On the election preparation in Sarawak, he said it was much more orderly than in Melaka.

 Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg also voiced the same opinion, including suggesting that some flexibility should be considered for the campaign process in rural areas which did not have internet access.

“If we look at geographical factors, Sarawak is large and Melaka is small … In addition, we in Sarawak still face internet access constraints.

“If we follow the SOPs in Melaka, which is the digital campaign… It may cause problems in areas where there is no internet coverage.

“So, the EC may be able to relax some conditions or SOPs to facilitate movements in areas without internet, especially in the interior,” he pointed out.

The 12th Sarawak state election will be held under the new norm.

Of course, the level of security is of great concern in addition to public safety.