Sarawak state election takes off with nominations tomorrow

A Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) campaigner putting up flags ahead of nomination day in Gedong, Sarawak December 5, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) campaigner putting up flags ahead of nomination day in Gedong, Sarawak December 5, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUCHING, Dec 5 — The 12th Sarawak state election begins tomorrow (December 6) with the nomination of candidates at 82 centres throughout the state from 9am.

The current election will be unlike previous polls, not only because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but also because Sarawak is one of two states — the other being Kelantan — still in Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan (PPN).

In an effort to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections, the Election Commission (EC) has determined that only the candidate, proposer and seconder or any two of them will be allowed to enter the nomination centre to submit the candidates’ nomination papers.

The candidates’ party supporters will not be allowed entry, and any gathering or procession in show of support for the candidates are banned throughout nomination day.

Candidates are given an hour to submit their nomination papers. In a bid to speed up the process, candidates are urged to fill up their papers and to check if everything is in order with the office of the returning officer or the Sarawak state election office beforehand.

Candidates and political parties are given 12 days to campaign before polling day on December 18 as set by the EC.

Early voting has been set on December 14.

The standard operating procedure (SOP) for campaigning, however, has yet to be announced.

The Sarawak state election was postponed after the tenure of the last state legislative assembly ended on June 6 following the Emergency Proclamation by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah from January 11 to August 1 to stop the spread of Covid-19.

When the Emergency ended, the King once again declared a state of Emergency in Sarawak from August 2 to February 2, 2022.

The Emergency was lifted on Nov 3, resulting in the automatic dissolution of the state assembly and paving the way for a new state election.

A total of 82 state seats are being contested and, as of yesterday, an EC spokesman said that 1,268 nomination forms had been sold.

The 12th Sarawak election will involve 1,252,014 eligible voters, with 1,228,858 ordinary voters, 12,585 military personnel and their spouses, 10,458 police personnel and spouses as well as 113 absentee overseas voters.

There will be 1,951 polling centres with 3,666 voting stations/channels, with 46,565 individuals appointed to manage the election. — Bernama

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