KUCHING: How safe the Sarawak election will be depends on how well the Election Commission (EC) and the Covid-19 enforcement team implement the standard operating procedure (SOP) guidelines.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah noted that many had expressed their worry over the coming state election following the spike in Covid-19 cases after Sabah held its polls.
However, he stressed that people should not compare Sabah to Sarawak as both states have different ways in managing the Covid-19 situation.
“In Sarawak and as a member of the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), I know how strict, thorough and detailed it manages the pandemic.
“This includes controlling incoming flights into the state and having strict quarantine policies.
“Whether there is going to be an increase in Covid-19 cases if the election is going to be held, that depends on how the EC and the Covid-19 enforcement team manage it, especially in observing social distancing,” he told New Sarawak Tribune on Monday (Nov 2)
He further emphasised that countries like Singapore, South Korea, and New Zealand were able to hold their elections during the pandemic.
“If these countries can manage elections well, why can’t Malaysia’s EC do the same?
“It boils down to EC coming up with strict guidelines on how campaigning and voting processes should be done.
“If all SOPs set by Ministry of Health (MOH), National Security Council (MKN) and SDMC are enforced and adhered to, I am very sure the Sarawak Election can be held without much problem, including the fear of Covid-19 spike.”
On Saturday (Oct 31), Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Sarawak election and the Batu Sapi by-election were inevitable unless an emergency was declared.
He explained that Article 21 of the Sarawak State Constitution provided for state elections to be held within 60 days from the date of dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly.
Similarly, elections must be held within 60 days after there is a vacancy for a parliamentary seat according to Article 54 of the Federal Constitution.
“If the elections cannot be postponed for any reason, my appeal to the residents of Batu Sapi and Sarawak is to be careful,” he said.