Abang Jo sounds polls alert, but Sim says not soon

GPS chairman Abang Johari Openg and SUPP president Sim Kui Hian appeared to contradict each other about the Sarawak elections.

PETALING JAYA: Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg sounded the alert for state elections “at any time” from today, but his message appeared to have been contradicted by a state minister who pointed towards a date next year.

Abang Johari, who is president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) and head of the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition, raised the alert while speaking at a party meeting in Sibu.

“I want to convey a message that the drum will be sounded. I have the wood on standby and also the drum on standby,” Abang Johari was quoted as saying in a Malay Mail report. “When the drum is struck with the wood at any time from now, we must all go out to defend PBB and GPS in the election.”

However, coalition partner Sim Kui Hian who is president of the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party was quoted in a separate news report as saying that the chances of elections this year were low.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic would dampen any election plans the state might have.

Sarawak recorded three new Covid-19 cases today, with the total number of infections in the state standing at 716.

“Elections may be next year,” said Sim, who is state minister for housing and local government. “The same virus still exists. Sarawak has lost 19 lives due to this virus,” he said, according to Astro Awani.

The current state assembly’s term expires next June.