Sarawak Speaker rejects DAP rep’s motion to dissuade CM from dissolving state assembly

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is pictured at Hilton Kuala Lumpur for a meeting with Perikatan Nasional leaders November 1, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is pictured at Hilton Kuala Lumpur for a meeting with Perikatan Nasional leaders November 1, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUCHING, Nov 10 — Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg does not have the power to dissolve the Sarawak State Assembly to pave the way for the state election, Speaker Datuk Amar Asfia Awang Nassar said when dismissing Pelawan assemblyman David Wong’s motion today.

He said the dissolution of the state assembly is the sole prerogative of the Sarawak governor pursuant to Article 21(2) of the State Constitution of Sarawak.

He said the Article reads that the governor may prorogue or dissolve the state assembly.

“This motion is unconstitutional because it violates Article 21(2) of the State Constitution depriving the governor of his constitutional right as to when to dissolve the state assembly,” Asfia said.

He said the motion cannot be allowed to proceed because to do so would usurp the constitutional power of the head of state bestowed under Article 21(2).

“This motion is therefore dismissed,” he said.

In tabling his motion, Wong called on the chief minister not to dissolve the state assembly within six months after the passage of the motion by the august House.

He said the whole of Malaysia is experiencing a resurgence of the Covid-19 positive cases following the Sabah state election.

He said there is no real need for the chief minister to call for the state election during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the health of the people should be given priority over the state election.

The Speaker also dismissed Wong’s second motion which called upon the state government to demand the Election Commission (EC) to allow Sarawakians living outside the state to vote, either by setting up polling stations in Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang and Sabah or by allowing them to vote through postal ballots.

He said under Regulation 27A of the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981, only persons who are required to vote as advance voter can vote outside Sarawak.

“This motion requires an amendment to the Regulation 27A of the Election (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981.

“Unless and until this pertinent regulation is amended in Parliament, the motion cannot proceed in this august House,” he said.

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