Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

12TH State election

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is seeking the advice of health experts on when to call for the state election.

“I am subject to the advice from the experts, especially on health (before deciding on the election date). What is important is that we need a government that has the mandate so it can focus on managing Covid-19, the country and the economy.

“We are weighing both (calling for an election and public health), but the fact remains our term is going to end. We need to get the people’s mandate to govern,” he told a press conference yesterday.

He was fielding questions from pressmen on when the state election will be called following public worries over the developing Covid-19 situation.

Abang Johari said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) term would end in April and the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) would automatically dissolve in June.

He said while the situation was rather a complex one, other countries – New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, United States of America (USA) and Myanmar were able to conduct their election amidst the pandemic.

“We are concerned for the health of the public and on the other hand we can’t handle Covid-19 and take measures if we don’t have the mandate. Now I still have the mandate, I can decide; but if I don’t have the mandate, I can’t.

“This is a difficult situation but we have to consider every factor, then we decide,” he said.

The chief minister said he would leave it to the Election Commission to introduce standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure public safety when the election is called.

“If we decide to call for an election, we leave to EC to implement the SOPs. In Sabah’s case it was different but I don’t want to be like Sabah, health of people is important,” he said.