Sarawak CM plays coy on early state polls

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today the time has not come yet for him to call for the Sarawak state election. — Bernama pic
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today the time has not come yet for him to call for the Sarawak state election. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, Feb 6 — Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today the time has not come yet for him to call for the Sarawak state election.

He said this when he was asked if his statement in Limbang recently indicated that the state election might be held this year instead of next year when the term of the current Sarawak State Assembly expires.

“I was only mentioning Maghrib, not Isyak. Drum or no drum, we are more or less having Maghrib, not Isyak yet,” he told reporters after chairing the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) supreme council meeting here.

“Muslims pray five times a day. We got Subuh, Zohor, Asar, Maghrib and Isyak.

“I was only mentioning Maghrib, but not Isyak yet,” he said.

Asked if the election is still far away, he replied: “I don’t know yet. It is up to you to interpret.”

In his speech at the launch of GPS northern zone on two days ago, Abang Johari hinted that the state election could be called earlier.

“I don’t know when the drum will be sounded, but the time for Maghrib prayer has come, and we’re only waiting for the sound of the drum,” he was quoted as saying.

Sarawak last held its election for its 82-seat assembly on May 7, 2016.

The then Barisan Nasional (now GPS) won 72 out of the 82 seats while the rest were won by Pakatan Harapan (PH).

The current state assembly will automatically be dissolved on September 7, 2021 if the state election is not called before then.

GPS was formed soon after the 14th general election in 2018 by four former BN component parties — PBB, PRS, SUPP and PDP — following the coalition’s defeat to PH.

Abang Johari also said that the GPS supreme council meeting discussed current national events.

“The position of GPS is this; whatever problem is being faced on that side, it is their problem. Not Sarawak’s,” he said.

However, he said GPS is monitoring developments in Peninsular Malaysia, pointing out that there must be a very strong and stable government to rule the country.

“We are not party to what is happening there. We are on own. We are GPS and we look after Sarawak’s interests.

“But if what is happening there affects the country, we will see and observe,” he added.

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