Only an Emergency Proclamation can hold off the state election

10 Feb 2022 07:44pm
Photo for illustration purpose only - BERNAMA
Photo for illustration purpose only - BERNAMA

SHAH ALAM - With the surge of the Omicron variant which caused a spike in Covid-19 infections, questions were being raised whether the Johor state election should be postponed like what happened in Sarawak, last year

The 12th Sarawak state election was put on hold when the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah agreed to proclaim a State of Emergency nationwide beginning Aug 2, last year, until Feb 2, this year.

However, on Nov 4, last year, the King consented to ending the Emergency in Sarawak to pave the way for the state election to be held.

This, was in line with Articles 40 and 40(1A) of the Federal Constitution.

Constitutional expert from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Professor Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood said the Johor state election could be postponed in the event the Yang di-Pertuan Agong declared a State of Emergency, like in Sarawak.

He explained that if there was no Emergency in place, the regulations on the state election must be made within 60 days from the date of the dissolution of the state assembly as stated under the Elections Act as well as the Federal Constitution and the state constitution.

“The Johor state election could only be put on hold if there is a Proclamation of Emergency like what happened to Sarawak, last year, due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

"Despite the high number of Covid-19 positive cases, the state election must be held as usual because there is no law that can prevent the election from going on unless a State of Emergency is declared and an ordinance was issued by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to postpone the matter,” he told Sinar Premium on Tuesday.

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Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) political analyst Mujibu Abd Muis said apart from the increase of Covid-19 cases, among the other factors that would kill people's motivation to return to vote was the increase in the number of new voters.

He said when the number of young voters automatically increased, the percentage of turnouts would be low.

Mujibu said from the beginning, he was of the view that there was no necessity for a state election to be held since there was no threat to its stability, no one was jumping parties and the government could still stand with the existing majority.

However, he said since the state assembly has been dissolved on Jan 22, nothing could lower the spirit of the voters for the election that will be held soon.

“There is no turning back unless there is a Proclamation of Emergency which I do not think will happen due to what happened in the previous state elections," he said.