‘Scary possibility’ Putrajaya will take over S’wak govt if emergency extended: lawyer

What will happen to the Sarawak administration if the emergency is extended further and the state cannot hold its 12th state election within 60 days of automatic dissolution of the state assembly on June 7?

Senior lawyer Datuk Lawrence Lai said there is an “unlikely yet scary possibility” that the state government could be “taken over” by the federal government.
 
“If Sarawak cannot hold its 12th state election by then, a new state government cannot be formed,” said the Miri-based lawyer.

“The current state assembly automatically expires this June 7 if no state election is called before that date.

“The Election Commission has 60 days from the date of automatic dissolution to call for the 12th state election, meaning that the state election must be concluded and official results must be announced by August 7.

“If the prime minister seeks a prolonged extension of the emergency beyond August 1 and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong approves… legally speaking, will the management of Sarawak end up in the hands of the National Security Council?”

Senior lawyer Datuk Lawrence Lai says in an emergency, the prime minister can pass any laws under the emergency ordinance, some of which may not be in the interest of Sarawakians. – Pic courtesy of Datuk Lawrence Lai, March 31, 2021
Senior lawyer Datuk Lawrence Lai says in an emergency, the prime minister can pass any laws under the emergency ordinance, some of which may not be in the interest of Sarawakians. – Pic courtesy of Datuk Lawrence Lai, March 31, 2021

He said if this is the case, the Sarawak government must seek permission from the king for the state to be exempted from the emergency.

The ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition should also seek an audience with the king on this, he said.

“The ruling GPS should have already objected to the emergency being declared in Sarawak.

“During an emergency, the prime minister can pass any laws under the emergency ordinance that may go against the interest of Sarawakians.”

This, he said, could include matters concerning Sarawak’s autonomy, immigration rights, state sales taxes, land laws, and oil and gas ownership.

“GPS should point out that the emergency can be declared only in certain parts of Malaysia and not necessarily throughout Malaysia.

“Sarawak should definitely be excluded, especially in view of the 12th state election.

“If the state assembly is dissolved automatically before the state election can be held, Sarawak will not have a legal state government.” – The Vibes

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