Agong makes the ‘difficult’ decision after audience with governor, PM.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has assented to lifting the state of emergency in Sarawak, paving way for the holding of a long-delayed state election within 60 days.
In a statement today (Nov 3), the palace’s grand chamberlain Azuan Effendy Zairakithnaini said the decision was made after the king held an audience with Sarawak governor Abdul Taib Mahmud at the palace on Tuesday.
The Agong also considered briefings given by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and top civil servants on Monday and Tuesday.
“His Majesty has expressed his concern on the risk of increasing the spread of Covid-19 if the Sarawak election is held. In His Majesty’s judgement, the country is still facing the threat of Covid-19 with the current spread of the disease still worrying.
“His Majesty’s assent to end the proclamation of emergency is a difficult and complicated decision. Nevertheless, it has been assented to fulfil the needs of democracy and restore power to the people to make a choice and give a mandate for the formation of a new government.
“His Majesty has emphasised that security and harmony of the people should be prioritised over any personal and political interests,” Azuan said.
The Sarawak state legislative assembly had its five-year term expire in June, which constitutionally requires a state election be held within 60 days.
However, the election was put on hold by virtue of a national emergency, which was first declared on Jan 11 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
A localised emergency was later declared in Sarawak beginning Aug 2, to enable the state to postpone its polls when the national emergency expired on Aug 1.
The localised emergency in Sarawak was due to expire on Feb 2, 2022, but the state ruling coalition had said it may be lifted earlier if the Sarawak population is fully vaccinated by October.
According to the Health Ministry’s CovidNow website, 91 percent of Sarawak’s adult population has received full Covid-19 vaccination.
With the lifting of the state emergency, Sarawak would have to hold its election within 60 days from the date the emergency ends.