‘King empowered to declare Emergency on S’wak to defer polls’


Datuk Idris Buang

KUCHING: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is empowered under the Federal Constitution to declare an Emergency on Sarawak to defer the state election in the event the Covid-19 situation worsens, said Muara Tuang assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang.

“Yes, in my humble personal opinion His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong has all the powers in our Federal Constitution to declare an Emergency on Sarawak if the situation warrants it like the one in Batu Sapi, Sabah. The Federal Constitution supersedes the State Constitution in any event of any conflicting terms.

“But it would be a point for consideration by His Majesty that it would be difficult and impracticable to declare an Emergency on just a part or parts of the state involving some constituencies, while leaving other parts or constituencies not affected,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu information chief was commenting on Wednesday’s Proclamation of Emergency by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah for the Batu Sapi parliamentary constituency in Sabah, in effect cancelling the by-election for the seat.

Idris said managing the movement of voters would be very difficult to achieve, hence his belief that any Emergency declared on Sarawak would have to cover the entire state to defer the state polls sine die.

“The lives and safety of our people is of paramount importance, as has been stressed by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“It also means that all provisions regarding the election under our State and Federal Constitutions would be ‘suspended’ for that period of Emergency until it is lifted,” he added.

The Proclamation of Emergency for Batu Sapi was based on Clause (1) Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, and was made after studying the explanation given by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who had presented his advice based on a decision taken at the Cabinet meeting.

The Election Commission had set Nov 23 for nomination, Dec 1 for early voting and Dec 5 for polling for the Batu Sapi by-election, which was called following the death of its incumbent Datuk Liew Vui Keong on Oct 2.