ABANG JOHARI TO CONSIDER PUBLIC HEALTH, NEW MANDATE BEFORE CALLING FOR SARAWAK ELECTION
23 OKTOBER 2020
KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today said that he is weighing between public health and the needs to get a new mandate before calling for the state election.
As the chairman of the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), he said the COVID-19 pandemic had created a difficult and complex situation for him to decide on the election as every factor would need to be taken into consideration.
“I am subject to the advice from the experts...especially (on) the (public) health. I mean we are not crazy for power (to call for an election), (but) what is important is you must have a government with a mandate not only to manage COVID (but) to manage the country and the economy,” he said.
Abang Johari made these remarks at a press conference here in response to the public concerns of the suitability to have the state election under the present situation where there is a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases recorded.
“For us, we have to look at both sides, because we cannot predict if our (daily figure of) COVID-19 (cases) is (remained at a) single digit and we are subject to the advice of the Ministry of Health on whether we should go for it (a state election) or not,” he said.
Abang Johari who is also the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president said the term for GPS to govern the state is actually until April 2021 with the automatic dissolution of the state assembly in June.
He said that he also observed the development in countries such as New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Myanmar which were also having their elections in spite of still facing COVID-19 threats.
At the same time, he acknowledged the situation of COVID-19 in Sabah after its state election but he insisted that the situation for Sarawak to go for the poll was different from how its neighbouring state was led to the event.
“Sabah case is different, but I do not want to be like in Sabah because the health of the people is also important. At the same time we also need a new mandate,” he added.
GPS was formed after the 14th General Election in 2018 when PBB and three other Sarawak based parties - Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) - decided to leave Barisan Nasional to form their own state coalition. - Bernama