Different SOPs for Sarawak election, minister says

pic by TMR FILE

MINISTER in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (picture) said Sarawak will use a different set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) due to the different circumstances compared to Melaka.

“Melaka is in Phase 4 of the recovery phase, while Sarawak is in Phase 3. However, the situation in Sarawak is different from Melaka because there is limited access to enter Sarawak as it only shares borders with Sabah, Indonesia and Brunei.

“The SOPs will take into consideration views from the Ministry of Health (MoH), Royal Malaysian Police, National Security Council (MKN) and Sarawak State Disaster Management Council,” he said during his winding-up speech in Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

The Santubong MP also highlighted that the state has its own laws and has requested to employ its own rules for the state election instead of the ones used in west Malaysia with regards to the election.

“The SOPs for Sarawak state election will be announced soon after it is finalised,” he added.

During the Budget 2022 debate, Opposition leader Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Seputeh MP Hannah Yeoh and Lembah Pantai MP Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil were among the lawmakers that raised the question on the SOPs during Melaka polls recently that did not allow physical campaigning.

Anwar called for the Election Commission (EC) to review the matter, citing the SOPs by the MKN and MoH had obstructed the democratic process.

“Based on the experience we had at Melaka, the ruling had limited our freedom because the state election should have been an opportunity for us to enlighten voters on matters that need to be addressed.

“But if we are unable to convey the messages and are not allowed to meet them, it would lead to problems. I hope the EC will review the ruling and it needs to be expedited for the state election in Sarawak,” he said.

The Dewan Rakyat passed the Supply Bill 2022 or Budget 2022 at committee stage yesterday which was done via a voice vote after 41 MPs debated on the budget followed by winding-up debate from five ministers from the Prime Minister’s Department.

Among the issues brought forward by MPs for revision include the SOPs at Sarawak state election, updates on anti-hopping law and Malaysia Agreement 1963 as well as Undi18.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s (PM) Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed told the Dewan Rakyat that PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has approved an allocation of RM1 billion in

Budget 2022 for special projects where half of the amount will focus on helping the hardcore poor.

He said the government does not have specific allocation to overcome the issues faced by the group because the matter lies in the jurisdiction of every ministry.

“Therefore, the government has decided to allocate RM500 million from the fund for special projects to support projects that will eradicate poverty nationwide. We will identify four or five localities in each state to help the poor and eliminate poverty in the country,” he said.

The Supply Bill 2022 will be tabled for the Third Reading in the Dewan Rakyat.