Malaysia extends emergency rule in Sarawak state to stop polls

The emergency in Sarawak will be extended until Feb 2, 2022. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) - Malaysia extended an emergency ordinance in the Borneo state of Sarawak in a bid to hold off a state election amid the pandemic, according to a proclamation signed by King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad on July 30.

The emergency, which was due to end on Sunday (Aug 1), will be extended until Feb 2, 2022, according to the proclamation.

The five-year term of the Sarawak legislative assembly was scheduled to end on June 6 but the state could not hold an election because of the emergency declared in January to curb the spread of coronavirus.

"Proclamation of emergency in Sarawak to postpone state elections is to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from becoming more serious," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

The pandemic in Malaysia has worsened recently mainly due to the emergence of the delta variant of the virus, with the Southeast Asian nation reporting a record 17,405 new daily cases of Covid-19 on July 28, pushing the total number of infections past the 1 million mark for the first time.

It added 16,840 new infections on Friday, 450 of them in Sarawak.

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