Sarawak state election: GPS is scared of new Covid-19 variants, not young voters, says Uggah

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Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas speaks during the press conference. — Picture courtesy of Ukas
Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas speaks during the press conference. — Picture courtesy of Ukas

BETONG, Nov 7 — The landas (monsoon) season expected early next year and fears of new Covid-19 variants emerging are the main reasons why the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government preferred to hold the 12th state election at the end of this year.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said today the decision was reached after much consultation and deliberation with the relevant authorities.

He said the decision has nothing to do with those aged 18 to 21 being able to vote by January next year as claimed by Opposition parties.

“There is no guarantee that all of them will be anti-GPS government,” he said when meeting with Bukit Saban PBB grassroots leaders and committee members here.

He said holding the state election during the monsoon season would be a herculean task due to widespread flooding, nor could it wait until the Covid-19 situation improved.

Uggah, who said he is confident of retaining the Bukit Saban seat, added the state had successfully vaccinated 90 per cent of the state’s eligible adult population.

“We are in the process of carrying out our adolescent vaccination and booster shot programmes.

He said Sarawak registered the country’s highest cases for several days in September mainly due to the Delta variant, while this month, the number has hovered between 400 and 500 cases.

“There is no telling when a new, even more dangerous variant may emerge in the future,” Uggah said.

However, he cautioned the people not to be complacent as excitement grows over the state election.

“We must always follow the usual standard operating procedures (SOPs) from the Health Ministry.

“For the purpose of the election, the Health Ministry and the Election Commission will draw up the SOPs,” Uggah said, adding that similar to Melaka, no house-to-house campaigning or visits would be allowed, among other restrictions.

He said as such, PBB grassroots leaders and party machinery would play a crucial role in ensuring party members remain united and supportive of all GPS candidates.

“We will have to conduct our campaigns largely through social media, posters and mobile texts,” he added.

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