BINTULU (Oct 7): Publishing the list of automatically registered new voters ages 18 and above on Sept 27 must be hailed as a new milestone for Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy, said Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How.
“As it has been projected that these new voters will be eligible to vote after Dec 31, 2021, an additional 665,723 voters of all age groups will be able to take part in the coming Sarawak state election which has been delayed because of the Proclamation of Emergency (Sarawak) that has been issued by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong for the period and may in effect subsist until Feb 2, 2022,” he said in a statement today.
Sarawak currently has 1.3 million registered voters, and See said the inclusion of 665,723 new voters meant that there would be nearly 2 million voters who would be able to take part in deciding the fate of Sarawak if the state election is held after the turn of the new year.
“On the national front, we shall have potentially 5.8 million new voters to be added to the existing 15 million voters to participate in the general election to determine the new political landscape of Malaysia,” he said.
However, See, who is also Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) presidential council member, believed that this significant surge in the number of new voters, from 3,000 to more than 30,000 in a state constituency, would be a huge challenge to the political parties and potential candidates who are vying to be the elected state assembly persons and to form the next government.
“I am not surprised that the rumours are now rife that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition government is seeking audience of the Ruler to immediately lift the emergency in order that the State Legislative Assembly may be dissolved within this month and the state election is held next month or in December, before these substantial number of potential voters are gazetted to be eligible voters.
“I tend to believe that there is no truth in such rumours. Political expediency aside, the Sarawak Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) had time and again assured Sarawakians that their safety and health are paramount, that he will not risk dissolving the Sarawak State Assembly to pave the way for a state election when the Covid-19 virus particularly the Delta variant is still rampant and wreaking havoc across the state,” he said.
In addition, See said it would be historic for Sarawak to be the first state in Malaysia to have the state election with more that 70 per cent of the population being eligible voters, to participate in the electoral process to decide on the next government which can claim resolute legitimacy.
According to him, it is also opportune for the new state government to have a strong mandate and backing to lead Sarawak for the next five years, to demand for the restoration of Sarawak’s special rights and privileges pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963, administering the devolved powers and the determination of Sarawak’s future and the betterment of all Sarawakians.
“It is an exciting challenge as well as an opportunity to be seized to showcase the strength and political will of Sarawak and Sarawakians.
“We are certainly on the path to a greater Sarawak if our political leaders are willing to take this challenge in allowing these 665,723 Sarawakians to cast their vote in the forthcoming state election,” said See.
At the same time, he urged all potential eligible voters to ascertain their status immediately as they can still make corrections and amendments to the list in changing the localities for voting.
He said it is every Sarawakian’s constitutional right to vote in the coming election and determine the future of Sarawak in this crucial time.
He added that Sarawakians Internet access may be able to check their voting status via website https://mysprsppa.spr.gov.my from October 1 to 31.
In the meantime, See urged the state government to make available the lists of eligible voters in all districts and administrative offices to ensure that all rural Sarawakians are able to check whether they are included as pre-registered voters.