KUCHING, Nov 12 (Sin Chew Daily) – Universiti Malaya’s Associate Prof. Dr. Awang Azman bin Awang Pawi predicted that the Sarawak state election would likely be held in December, with nomination on December 6 and polling on December 18.
He told Sin Chew Daily there are two factors affecting the nomination and polling dates, namely the death of deputy chief minister Tan Sri James Masing on October 31 and possible effects of the Melaka state election on the spread of the coronavirus.
“According to Iban customs, the mourning period is at least seven days, and as such the election commission did not meet immediately after the dissolution of the state assembly (November 3) on Sarawak’s election date as a show of respect for James Masing.”
He said the EC would meet to discuss the election date after the mourning period. However, he added that the EC might also consider the impact from the Melaka state election which will be held on November 20.
“Without assessing the situation in Melaka and setting the nomination and polling dates too early could pose a severe threat to Sarawak’s public health.”
Awang Azman also said a shorter campaign period is unpractical for Sarawak given its geographical size and lack of physical campaign activities, even though there are calls to shorten the campaign period.
He said a shorter campaign period would be unfavorable to both the ruling and opposition parties, as the voters would not have enough time to get to know the candidates and assess their manifestos and performances.
He expected the voter turnout in Sarawak to decline by at least 15% due to lack of physical campaign activities which could dampen the mood for voting.