Sarawak polls may not be held simultaneously with Melaka’s, says state tourism minister

Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah speaking at the thanksgiving ceremony and presentation of incentives to outstanding students of SMK Asajaya. ― Borneo Post pic
Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah speaking at the thanksgiving ceremony and presentation of incentives to outstanding students of SMK Asajaya. ― Borneo Post pic

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KOTA SAMARAHAN, Oct 7 ― Sarawak may not have its state election simultaneously with Melaka, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He said this is although speculation is rife that Sarawak’s overdue election may be called by the end of November, which could see state polls being held close to that of Melaka.

“Melaka is not under the state of emergency, whereas Sarawak is, which sees that the Emergency Ordinance will end in February 2022, then only the election date for Sarawak could be decided.

“Definitely, we will have to face the election somehow or rather but presently we are still in the state of emergency which will end in February 2022,” he said.

The state assemblyman for Asajaya said if the situation looks good and the pandemic is under control, the Chief Minister can always seek the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) to have the election much earlier.

“Everything rests on the Chief Minister on the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN). I believe whatever advice being brought up to the YDPA with all the facts available, his Majesty will give the consent. End of the day, it is the discretion of the YDPA.

“Whether we are going to wait until February 2022, which is the end of the emergency for Sarawak or before that, we are OK,” he said.

Abdul Karim was responding to the speculations that Sarawak state election might be held anytime from this November.

Earlier, he officiated at the thanksgiving ceremony and presentation of incentives to outstanding students of SMK Asajaya who will be going to local universities at the school near here.

On the SOPs if the state election is to be held earlier, Abdul Karim, who is also the Youth and Sports Minister, said the jurisdiction to regulate how election is to be conducted depends on the Election Commission (EC) because it is an agency set up by the YDPA and it knows what’s best.

“Should the state polls be held earlier, ensure that the SOPs determined by the EC are complied with. We do not want what had happened to Sabah happen to us. Just look at after the victory, all of the SOPs did not exist anymore.

“The SOPs set before, during and after the voting, make sure all of them are adhered to properly. Don’t forget that whether its Sarawak or Melaka, we are still in the pandemic,” he said.

Meanwhile, on the candidacy for the upcoming state polls, Abdul Karim said it is normal to have at least 10 per cent of the candidates are new faces.

“On the candidacy, definitely in any election whether state or parliamentary election, there’s bound to be some new faces. Normally from my past experience, at least 10 per cent of the candidates that are going to be put in are new faces.

“However, these are all at the discretion of the Chief Minister. We do not need to really discuss who and who because there will always be lobbying for candidacy.

In the event that the candidacy is open, we will leave it to the chief minister.

“That has always been the culture for Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB). I am not too sure about other components of GPS,” he said.

However, Abdul Karim said he is hopeful that there should also be women candidates among the new faces.

“In determining candidates for state or parliamentary elections, we must, among other things, have women candidates, even youth. Probably age plays the main factor. You can’t be too old unless you are an incumbent, because if a person is appointed to be a candidate, at least there must be planning for two terms (one term for preparations and another term for implementation).

“Personally I see the best age to be a candidate is about 40 years old, if you are to be there for the first time,” he said. ― Borneo Post

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