Election only after pandemic is under control

Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi

KUCHING: The upcoming state election should only be conducted after the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak is under control, said Universiti Malaya (UM) political analyst Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi.

He suggested that the state polls be held when Sarawak is able to record less than 50 Covid-19 cases per day.

“The Sarawak state election must only be held if the Covid-19 case is below 50 cases per day and is no longer concerning especially with the emergence of the Delta variant.

“This is along with guarantees by the Health Ministry that it is under control while the Election Commission (EC) is confident that a stringent standard operating procedure (SOP) can be introduced and implemented,” he said.

He said this when asked to comment on the timing of the Sarawak elections when contacted yesterday (July 29).

Awang Azman said if the situation has not been remedied, it is crucial that a localised health Emergency be imposed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to defer the state polls to a time when it is safe for Sarawakians.

The academician said while there will be questions arising to the legitimacy of a government that stayed in power beyond its term, it is not an issue in view of the rising Covid-19 cases.

“If the state election is rushed, then the government would be accused of being power-crazed and it is feared that the Covid-19 cases will continue to spike.

“This will cause a repeat of the aftermath of the Sabah state election which led to a huge wave of infections,” he said.

On Tuesday (July 27), Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said Sarawak will wait for the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong whether to proceed with the state election or otherwise, soon after the Emergency Order is lifted.

He said although the emergency was not likely to be extended after Aug 1 following the federal government’s decision that it would not advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for an extension, there were three things that needed to be considered.

These are the state’s Covid-19 situation, the EC SOPs and the people’s health.