Use emergency period to reform elections

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING: The state government must use the current localised Emergency period to implement necessary reforms to ensure a safe election.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said this includes ensuring Sarawakians who are staying outside the state can take part of the electoral process.

“The government of the day must use this time fully to implement the necessary electoral reforms to ensure a safer election process.

“This must include allowing Sarawakians outside Sarawak to vote while they need not fly back.

“As much as we need to protect the health and safety of the people, we must also protect all Sarawakian’s right to vote safely regardless of where they are situated,” he said in a Facebook post on Saturday (July 31).

He was commenting on the proclamation of Emergency for Sarawak to defer the state polls due to the worrying Covid-19 situation.

“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has extended the Emergency in Sarawak for another six months from Aug 2, 2021 to Feb 2, 2022.

“So this will mean a localised emergency will be enforced in Sarawak to prevent an election to happen once the nationwide emergency is supposedly revoked starting August.

“This is consistent with what we have been pushing for as we are concerned on the suitability of having an election in Sarawak during this period,” he said.

The five-year term of the Sarawak legislative assembly was scheduled to end on June 6 but the state could not hold an election because of the emergency declared in January to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The pandemic in Malaysia has worsened recently mainly due to the emergence of the Delta variant of the virus, with the nation reporting a record 17,405 new daily cases of Covid-19 on July 28.

This pushed the total number of infections past the 1 million mark for the first time. It added 16,840 new infections on Friday (July 30), 450 of them in Sarawak.