Karim: GPS ready for state polls even if held amidst Covid-19 pandemic
Posted on : 10 Jan 2021  Source of News: The Borneo Post

KUCHING (Jan 10): Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is ready to face the Sarawak state election even if it is to be held amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

Despite this, he assured that GPS would always put the people’s welfare and safety first, and assured that the coalition would adhere to all the guidelines, standard operating procedures (SOP) and new norms set by the Election Commission (EC) and other authorities.

“GPS puts the rakyat’s welfare and safety utmost, and that is why the state election which GPS had planned for the end of last year was deferred after evaluating the rakyat’s concern over the spike of Covid-19 nationwide as a result of the Sabah snap election on Sept 16,” the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president told The Borneo Post when contacted.

He said although the dates of the state election had not been decided yet, it is a mandatory requirement by law as the present State Legislative Assembly (DUN) will expire after June 6 this year.

“A fresh election must be held whether there is a pandemic or not. Parties within GPS have discussed about it and all are prepared,” said the Asajaya assemblyman.

On Friday (Jan 8) EC chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh said the federal government’s pandemic management committee will study the feasibility of holding a general election in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This committee will conduct a risk assessment and submit recommendations to the government as to whether it is or is not appropriate to hold the general election,” he said in a statement.

The pandemic committee comprises the National Security Council, the Health Ministry, National Disaster Management Agency, the police and other related agencies.

The EC statement came in the wake of political pressure being exerted on Umno to withdraw support from the ruling Perikatan Nasional coalition and thus trigger a snap general election.

Meanwhile deputy chief minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing said the GPS council has not officially discussed matters regarding holding the state election in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless, the Baleh assemblyman and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president pointed out that should the state election be held amid the pandemic, definitely GPS would abide by the SOP and guidelines set by the EC and other authorities.

“If the state election is called now, certainly the new norm will have to be enforced by the EC. However, the GPS council has not discussed the matter (yet),” he said.