State election 60 days after Emergency

Sarawak State Assembly building

KUCHING: The state election can only be held 60 days after the end of the Emergency proclamation on Aug 1.

Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar said this is in accordance with the requirements of Article 21 (4) of State Constitution and in the event that the current Emergency order is not extended.

Asfia said the Election Commission (EC) has been informed of the non-dissolution of the Sarawak DUN as its term is extended until the end of the Emergency proclamation instead of being dissolved on June 6, five years after its first meeting on June 7, 2016.

“I have sent a notice by email to the EC chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh to inform that the life of the DUN term is extended until the end of the Emergency proclamation or until an appropriate date decided by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after consultation with the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak,” he said in a statement on Sunday (June 6).

Asfia noted there have been parties questioning the position of Sarawak assemblymen after June 6, which was supposed to be the last day of the DUN term. He said Article 18 (1) of the Sarawak Constitution, provides that an assemblyman shall remain until the DUN is dissolved.

“Given that the Emergency order is still in force and the provisions of the dissolution of the DUN have been suspended and have no effect by the Emergency Ordinance (Essential Powers) 2021, then the appointment of the assemblymen will not end on June 6.

“It will remain until the dissolution of the DUN through the proclamation of the Yang-di-Pertuan Agong under Section 15 or after Aug 1 i.e., the date of the end of the Emergency.

He said an Emergency to suspend or defer election can also thereafter be proclaimed as is the case for the Parliamentary seats of Batu Sapi in Sabah and Gerik in Perak.

“Similarly for the state seats of Bugaya (Sabah) the by-election of which should have been held on the same date as Batu Sapi and Melor (Kelantan). The by-election date for all these constituencies has not been fixed.

“These four by-elections which should have taken place but have not been held, conclusively prove beyond any shadow of doubt that an election or by-election cannot be held where the consent of the Yang diPertuan Agong is withheld,” he said.