KOTA SAMARAHAN: Factors that might affect the timing of the state election will include the current Covid-19 pandemic and floods which usually occur at the end of the year in Sarawak.
But ultimately the person who will decide on the election date is the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chief has the prerogative to advise the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri to dissolve the State Legislative Assembly.
“This is a requirement of the law and Constitution and not a political need. In the present situation, we are facing the Covid-19 pandemic so the Election Commission (EC) has the power to decide the specific standard operating procedure (SOP) for all places involved in the election.
“We see it (election) taking place at the latest in June 2021. It is now October 2020. Therefore, it is not far away and that is why preparations should start now,” he told reporters after chairing the GPS component Election Liaison Committee meeting here today.
Wan Junaidi was responding to a recent statement by Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh that Sarawak should not hold its state election any time soon.
On the question of whether postponing the state election after the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) term has expired is possible, the veteran lawyer said the DUN will be dissolved automatically.
“This is because it has been set in the Constitution unless a state of emergency is declared under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution,” he said.
He added: “But so far, in the long history of the nation, there hasn’t been a state of emergency declared due to a pandemic. Previously when it was declared, it was due to a situation where the safety of the nation was in danger.”
The mandate of the current state government ends in June 2021.
Asked whether the state election would be held at the end of the year which is known as a flood season in Sarawak, Wan Junaidi who is the Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister, said personally, he would look from the historical aspect, whether it had been held before and what the challenges were then.
Sarawak held the fourth state election on Dec 28-29 in 1983.