KUCHING, Nov 5 — The Sarawak State Legislative Assembly has been dissolved effective Nov 3, thus making way for a state election.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the dissolution was in compliance with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s consent to revoke the Proclamation of Emergency for Sarawak on the same date.
“The State Assembly Speaker will notify the Election Commission (EC) (on the dissolution of the state assembly) later.
“It’s a very unique situation as when the Agong lifted the Emergency, (the state assembly) automatically dissolved. But it just a matter of procedure that we will ask the Speaker to officially inform the EC,” he told a press conference here today.
On Wednesday, the King gave his consent for the Emergency in Sarawak to be lifted earlier after consulting the Sarawak Governor and considering the advice of the Prime Minister, Attorney General, and relevant government agency heads.
Abang Johari said had the Emergency not been proclaimed, the State Assembly would have been dissolved by June 7, 2021, as required by the State Constitution and that his Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government would no longer have the people’s mandate, which was given in 2016, to govern.
“In order to hold true to our oath to preserve and protect the Constitution of the State of Sarawak and the Federal Constitution and safeguard the rights of the people to choose their own government, the GPS government feels that it would be a betrayal to that oath if we were to hang on to power under the veil of a state of emergency whereas the people’s mandate to govern had expired,” he said.
He said that was why they consulted and advised the Sarawak Governor (Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud) to seek the King’s consent to terminate earlier the Proclamation of Emergency for Sarawak, which was promulgated on Aug 2 this year.
Abang Johari said knowing that the health and safety of the people of Sarawak is paramount, the state government had had a careful and constant engagement with health authorities and other stakeholders in order for the election to be held with all the necessary standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place.
“The rates of COVID-19 vaccination in the state has also achieved a level which would be acceptable by the authorities for the election to be conducted safely,” he added.