Work on the best SOP

Datuk Seri Doris Brodie

KUCHING: The Election Commission (EC) must come up with the best and safest standard operating procedures (SOPs) within the next six months.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Women chief Datuk Seri Doris Sophia Brodie suggested mobile ballot boxes be made instead of voters coming and queuing to or at polling stations to cast their votes.

“This will reduce crowd gathering and movements. In addition, the EC should also encourage postal voting for those who reside in other divisions or outside Sarawak to minimise traveling as well as introduce virtual campaigning, etc for the upcoming state election.

“Meanwhile, on the government side, it is important to focus on working on the recovery plan and also to ensure that our vaccination rollout plans are orderly.

“We must achieve herd immunity status in due time before the 12th state election can be carried out,” she added.

Taking the lesson learnt from what happened during the Sabah state election, she emphasised that the people’s health and wellbeing must be the primary consideration when determining the date for the Sarawak election.

“Sarawak cannot be in a frail state as we need all Sarawakians to be top form and robust to aggressively pursue all that we need to do to achieve a developed state status by 2030.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a bit of lagging but with good governance coupled with a disciplined and diligent populace, Sarawak will make it.

“The fight against Covid-19 pandemic is a team effort. It requires the support of all Sarawakians regardless of political divide because Covid-19 does not discriminate,” she stressed.

Commenting on whether the Emergency extension would help in the efforts by the state government to flatten the Covid-19 curve, Doris said it would allow the state government to focus primarily on flattening the curve.

“The extension is very apt as our fight against the pandemic is not over yet and we have not achieved herd immunity status.

“We cannot afford to have any major outbreak as our hospitals and frontliners are almost exhausted. Besides, the people’s health is most important and it must take precedence over everything else especially the state election,” she said.

According to her, even though it was important to give back the mandate to the people to choose their government considering that the state assembly’s five-year term had expired on June 6, a little delay would not kill as Covid-19 does.

On another note, Doris added that the Sarawak government must also persistently coax the federal government to take responsibility to address the border security with Kalimantan/Indonesia especially during this pandemic period.

“Our border is very porous and we must not allow penetration of illegal immigrants and illegal activities into Sarawak considering that the Covid-19 cases in Indonesia are alarming.

“The Federal government must be committed to protect Malaysia’s land border with Indonesia because this cannot be deemed as mere Sarawak’s border and thus solely becomes Sarawak’s problem and responsibility to address the border security issues,” she said.