KUCHING: The provisions in the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 in respect of the Election of Parliament, the Election of the State Legislative Assembly, parliamentary sitting and sitting of the State Legislative Assembly will automatically lapse once the Emergency expires on Aug 1.
This simply means the Sarawak State Assembly which was supposed to have lapsed on June 6 – if not for the subsisting Emergency declared on Jan 10 – will continue to subsist until Aug 1 only.
“The term of the Sarawak State Assembly will lapse and stand to be dissolved on August 1, 2021,” explained former deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
Responding to queries on the matter, the Santubong MP said the Ordinances created under the Emergency would continue to subsist for the next six months after the expiry of the Emergency.
“But Section 12 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 in respect of the Election of Parliament, Section 13 in respect of the Election of the State Legislative Assembly, Section 14 in respect of the parliamentary sitting, and Section 15 in respect of the sitting of the State Legislative Assembly will lapse on Aug 1.
“Because the beginning of each Section 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 starts with this term, ‘For so long as the Emergency is in force’.
“But by August 1, 2021, the Emergency is no longer in force, and therefore, Sections 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 will no longer be in force as well,” he added.
Wan Junaidi said the same applied to the parliamentary constituency that had become vacant after the death of the incumbent MP.
“That is, if the death of the MP happens more than two years before the parliamentary term expires, then a by-election will be held. If there is no declaration of Emergency in that constituency, then the by-election will have to be carried out within 60 days upon the lapse of the current Emergency. For any death within two years of the end of the current parliamentary term, no by-election is required,” he explained.
On the next state election, Wan Junaidi said it would have to be held within 60 days from the date thereof.
“In the event that the Covid-19 pandemic situation in Sarawak, based on the medical and scientific findings of the Ministry of Health, does not permit it, then in such a case, the Prime Minister will have to discuss with the Chief Minister and the Head of State for an Emergency to be declared in Sarawak.
“In which case, the state election will have to be delayed based on the new state Emergency,” he said.
Wan Junaidi said another practical question was whether the Election Commission could find volunteers to help with the general election during this Covid-19 pandemic time, adding this was the practical constraint that needed to be considered.