Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi

KUCHING (July 27): Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) can agree with state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen’s call for an Emergency Order to delay the state polls further if it is due to increased Covid-19 danger, the coalition’s secretary-general Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi said.

“So if the objective to ask for localised emergency for Sarawak is to avoid holding elections during heightened Covid-19 danger, GPS can agree,” he said when asked to comment on Chong’s call for the localised Emergency if the national Emergency is lifted on Aug 1.

Nanta, who is the domestic trade and consumer affairs minister and Kapit MP, said GPS has always maintained the position that the state election should only be held when it is safe to do so.

“GPS puts the people’s safety and health first in so far as the threat of Covid-19 is concerned,” he said.

On Monday, Chong urged the government to impose a localised Emergency Order for Sarawak to prevent the state election to be held within 60 days of the lifting of the national order on Aug 1, due to the number of people who have not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The Stampin MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman believed now was not the best time to hold state elections as only 40.5 per cent of the state population had been fully vaccinated.

“As at July 25, only 58.9 per cent of the Sarawak population had their first dose of vaccination and 40.5 per cent had their second dose. In other words, about 60 per cent of our population is not fully vaccinated,” he said.

Chong also said the current situation was compounded by the recent Covid-19 Delta variant outbreak, which showed that those who were fully vaccinated were still vulnerable to be infected.

De facto law minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan had told Parliament on Monday that the government has decided not to extend the period of Emergency and its accompanying Ordinances after Aug 1.

The term of the current Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) ends on June 6 but due to the Emergency Order enforced in January this year, the state has postponed the polls and the assembly’s term was extended.

Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had also explained on Monday that the DUN will automatically be dissolved at midnight on August 1, 2021, unless the prime minister who after consultation with Yang Di Pertua Negeri Sarawak and chief minister advises the Yang Di Pertuan Agong to declare Emergency in the state.