Should we put off polls?

12th Sarawak State Election

KUCHING: The current State Legislative Assembly (DUN) tenure expires on June 6 this year.But because of the proclamation of Emergency until August 1 to combat the Covid-19 menace, nobody dares say if the 12th state election will be held this year?

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah recently said that democracy and the Sarawak Constitution must be respected because the DUN’s tenure would be expiring in five months’ time.

Some members of the public have given their views on the issue.

Gabriel Lihan Apat Ferguson

GABRIEL LIHAN APAT FERGUSON (Student)

I hope the state election can wait until the number of Covid-19 cases in the state has reduced significantly or for Sarawak to be in the green zone again. Even though New Zealand and Singapore managed to successfully conduct their general elections during this pandemic, I do not think we are able to do it yet.

James Havit Tingom

JAMES HAVIT TINGOM (Fitness instructor)

The state election must be held during this pandemic because the fundamentals of democracy should go on. We still need the traditional method of polling because some people will not have access to internet if the state election is going to be held in the virtual realm. This means that polling can be managed under strict standard operating procedures (SOPs), but campaigning should be restricted.

Tijan Hendrick Hank

TIJAN HENDRICK HANK (Ketua Kampung)

The state election should be postponed. If held, there should be strict SOPs. On polling day, large crowds of voters should be avoided. Live campaign sessions can be conducted online.

Paul Patrick Berundang

PAUL PATRICK BERUNDANG (Doctor)

With the recent spike in Covid-19 cases, I think it is better not to hold the state election. The people will face health risks because of the virus. With advancements in technology, perhaps the state government can devise other methods for voters to cast their ballots. For example, the United States had postal voting, ballot drop boxes and early voting to prevent physical contacts as much as possible.

Esther Wong King Yi

ESTHER WONG KING YI (Student)

I think the state election can be done virtually in major urban centres like Kuching, Sibu and Miri but it will be a problem for the rural areas. However, some members of the public may not follow the SOPs strictly during polling and this might worsen the Covid-19 situation in our state.

Bong Wan Jun

BONG WAN JUN (Teacher)

We are still recovering from Covid-19 cases that are constantly rising daily so I don’t think the state election should be held so soon. It should definitely be held online because it is the best way for now and will help to reduce contacts with those who may be Covid-19 positive.