I agree to staggered state election

Tan Sri Datuk Amar James Masing. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing said he was agreeable for Sarawak to hold a staggered state election instead of holding it in just one day.

He felt that the state election should be staggered over several days. Alternatively, he said more polling stations should be open in order to prevent congestion during polling.

“This is nothing new. The Election Commission (EC) has done this before in past elections. The question is whether the EC has the will to try this mode of voting again in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in a statement toddy (Sept 2).

The suggestion on a staggered state election was earlier raised by former editor-in-chief and chairman of Malaysia National News Agency (Bernama) Datuk Seri Azman Ujang, considering that the overdue 12th state election had been postponed a number of times.

Azman opined that a staggered election was perhaps the best solution as holding an election amidst the Covid-19 pandemic was too dangerous and there was no telling when the pandemic would end.

Likewise, Masing believed that this mode of voting was the only solution to beat the dangers posed by Covid-19.

“We have not much of a choice if we wish to continue with our democratic system of government. We have to learn to live with Covid-19.

“We must bear in mind that there are other countries which have had their general elections in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic with no devastating impact. Just be smart in carrying out our jobs,” said the Baleh assemblyman.