KUCHING, Oct 18 — Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today that he does not mind if Sarawak holds its state election later rather than sooner in light of the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country.
Abang Johari, who is also Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman, said he was surprised to hear that even Opposition parties are urging the GPS government not to call the state election at any time soon.
But he said Sarawak will have to face an election eventually as the present mandate given to the GPS government is set to expire in six months’ time.
“But GPS leaders believe in the power of the people. We give it back to the people. We are not afraid because our policies are very clear,” he said during the closing of the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) special convention here.
“So we have to give it back to the people. But some people, including the Opposition parties, are telling us not to have one because we are facing Covid-19.”
He said the state government values the lives of the people, but at the same time, Sarawak needs a capable government to manage the pandemic.
“Covid-19 is here to stay. Nobody knows when it is going to be over. But Covid-19 does not mean that we must not have the election,” he said, adding that he does not know when Sarawak will have its election.
Meanwhile, SUPP president Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the party will continue to support Abang Johari to lead GPS into the state election and as the chief minister after the election.
He said this is one of the resolutions adopted at the party’s annual delegates conference yesterday.
He said the other resolution was to give a RM500 one-off payment from the RM3.18 billion in state sales tax payment from oil companies to all Sarawakians.
Dr Sim said the party also called on the state government to set up a sovereign wealth fund to ensure that the future generations will continue to benefit from oil and gas revenues even after the depletion of this resource.
He added the party also wanted the state government to approve the conversion of leasehold residential and commercial land to freehold throughout the state without any payment of additional premium.
Dr Sim also said the party urged the state government to build 5,000 units of affordable houses every year to benefit B40 and M40 groups and to provide financial support to first home buyers.
He said the party also wanted the state government to provide free Covid-19 vaccines whenever it is available to all Sarawakians.
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