SIBU (July 23): Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) has no problem whether the next general election is called this year or next year as it is still prepared for the polls, Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman said Hamzah.
The Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts pointed out that the GPS election machine had just gone through last year’s national elections.
He was responding to a question about whether the timing of the 15th General Election (GE15) was important for the coalition, following Barisan Nasional (BN) Vice President Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s statement that the best time to organize the next GE would be October or early November of this year.
“The timing doesn’t matter to us.
“It’s not to say I’m arrogant here that we’ll win big, but we can feel the pulse of people. We have felt it before, in the last state elections. I think we also feel it now, especially when we celebrate Sarawak Day. We can smell Sarawakians whether they are Chinese, Dayak, Malay, Melanau – we all agree.
“We are very happy – ‘Satu Sarawak’ – and that kind of feeling will normally be reflected in the votes as well,” Abdul Karim told reporters after officiating the Mysed Extreme Game Challenge at Sibu Active Youth Space today.
On Mohamad Hasan’s statement, Abdul Karim said that the prerogative to hold the upcoming general elections rests with the Prime Minister and the Agong.
“Whether it’s October, November or even early next year, it all depends. Definitely, whoever is in charge of doing it will certainly do a lot of calculations. If the Electoral Commission (EC) is well prepared to organize it nationwide, because it will not look like a by-election.
“It will be a national election. It will take a lot more effort – for the police to be prepared for it, for the election officials to have received the training… All of that has to be taken into account,” he said.
The current legislature is not due to expire until next year. The last general election was held on May 9, 2018.
Abdul Karim noted that the next general elections must be held within 60 days of the expiration of the current mandate.
“It must take place in July or August of next year. But normally, whoever the government is, they won’t wait until the last minute.
“They will have the election probably a year or six months before (the expiration of the legislature). So it may be late this year or early next year,” he said.
He reiterated that for Sarawak, the GPS will always be ready.
“Our machinery is already well oiled. Apart from that, Sarawak EC went through this process last year.
“So they are quite well prepared. You can use the same people to lead it, but we’re not too sure about West Malaysia.
“So that’s where most things need to be looked at – to be oiled and polished, that’s West Malaysia.”
Mohamad Hasan reportedly said having GE15 in those months would allow the budget to be tabled earlier.
Also present at the event today was the Deputy Minister of Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development I Dato Gerald Rentap Jabu, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Development of entrepreneur Nancy Jolhi, Sarawak Extreme Sports Association (Sesa) President Nik Suhaily and politicians. secretary to the Prime Minister of Sarawak Sayed Azmee Wan Junaidi.