Term of Sarawak's legislative assembly ends, but it will continue until Aug 1 due to state of emergency

Mr Mohamad Asfia noted that four by-elections that should have taken place have been postponed.
Mr Mohamad Asfia noted that four by-elections that should have taken place have been postponed.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SIBU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The five-year term of the Sarawak state legislative assembly officially ends on Sunday (June 6), but it won't be dissolved until Aug 1 due to Malaysia's state of emergency.

Sarawak state Speaker Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar said he would inform the Election Commission of the matter, adding that Section 18 of the Emergency Ordinance stipulates that it shall prevail in the event of any conflict or inconsistency between its provisions and any other written law.

Malaysia's King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah declared the state of emergency for the country under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, from Jan 12 to Aug 1, allowing a freer hand for the federal government to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Malaysia is battling a severe third wave of Covid-19 in the last few months, hitting a record 9,020 in daily cases last week (May 29) and a record number of daily deathsm 126, on Wednesday (June 2).

The emergency has led to the suspension of all federal parliament and state assembly sittings and also by-elections, among other things.

Said Datuk Amar Asfia in a statement on Sunday: "The current term of the Dewan Undangan Negeri (state asembly) therefore will not expire on June 6, 2021. It continues to function until Aug 1, 2021, which is specified in the Emergency Ordinance."

He noted that four Sarawak by-elections that should have taken place have been postponed.

They are the Batu Sapi and Gerik parliamentary by-elections, which should have been held on Dec 5 last year; and the two state assembly by-elections for the Bugaya seat in Sabah and the Melor seat in Kelantan, which should have been held on Jan 16.

He said this "conclusively proves beyond any shadow of doubt that an election or by-election cannot be held where the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) is withheld".

Mr Asfia also said Sarawak's 82 legislative assembly members and the state Cabinet ministers would continue to perform their duties and responsibilities under the umbrella of the emergency ordinance.