Polling over two days not wise

Lee Kuok Tiung

KUCHING: A political analyst disagrees with the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) Sarawak’s proposal for polling in Sarawak’s 12th state election be extended to two days and the campaign period from 14 to 21 days.

Dr Lee Kuok Tiung, a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) said a longer period meant more movements.

“Why should we take the risk? Even if all voters choose to stay at home, and also taking in all the safety measures, the politicians and election machinery will still be moving here and there.”

He said if the measures suggested by Bersih Sarawak were based on its logic of safety, then the number of polling centres should just be increased instead.

He added that the Election Commission (EC) should come up with stringent standard operating procedures (SOPs). At the same time, he expressed concern that politicians might still violate the SOPs.

“We have to learn from the Sabah state election last year.

“In last year’s Sabah state election, we saw that perhaps the EC was still new with this Covid-19 pandemic and there were a few things they appeared to be unprepared with – but we have to admit that the Sabah state election came so suddenly,” he said.

As such, he said the cooperation of the people was crucial in this matter.

He said the people should be aware that before the election machinery came to them, they had also moved around and met with many other people.

“Perhaps they themselves are not aware that they have had close contact with Covid-19 carriers,” he pointed out.

Hence, Lee advised the people to be cautious and maintain safety measures and SOPs, as well as to try to distance themselves from the election machinery if possible.