KUCHING, Oct 7 — Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh today claimed “trusted sources” told him that there are those within ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) who plan to hold the state election soon amid Covid-19.
He said their motivation is that the recent High Court decision to allow 18-year-olds to vote does not work to the state government’s advantage, leading to an attempt to beat the court-issued deadline of December 31, 2021.
“It must be pointed out that by resorting to that tactic it amounts to depriving this group of voters of their legal right to have a say in the governance of the state and their future as Sarawakians and that is a most dishonourable thing to do,” he said.
Wong said he fears that GPS, being the ruling coalition, would be able to dictate election procedures in the Covid-19 pandemic to their own advantage, with unfair measures like imposition of a “no campaign” election.
“I must state as clearly as possible that GPS should not and must not prioritise politics and the 12th state election over the health and general wellbeing of Sarawakians,” he said, adding that the lives of Sarawakians are paramount.
He stressed PSB does not support any call for an early election before the termination of the Emergency period on February 2 next year, as the Covid-19 menace in Sarawak is far from over, with infection rates continually the highest in the nation.
He said the expressed purpose of the Emergency declared by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong starting from August 2, 2021 to February 2, 2022 was to enable the Ministry of Health and the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to better manage the pandemic in Sarawak.
“The vaccinations and the movement control orders that were parts of the Emergency measures and the mass testing were supposed to have the combined effect of bringing to an absolute minimum level the number of daily new positive cases and the Covid-19 related deaths.
“But that is not the case,” Wong said, adding that as of October 6, 2021, the MoH has recorded that 2,085,723 people have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine or 67.5 per cent of the state population while another 1,901,466 people or 67.5 per cent of the state population, have been fully vaccinated.
He said from September 22 to October 5, there were only three days when the number of Covid-19 related deaths was at a single-digit level.
He added during the same period, the number of new daily positive cases exceeded 1,100 every day.
Wong said on October 5 and 6, a total of 15 longhouses in various parts of Sarawak were put under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO).
He said the people were understandably dumbfounded when the state government, through SDMC, announced starting October 2021 that interdistrict travel restrictions are now lifted.
“And they are also asking if the motive for removing the interdistrict travel restrictions have anything to do with the state election.
“If that indeed is the motive, why the hurry when the Emergency is due to be lifted only in February 2022, three months from today?” he asked.