Vls07may21To prohibit house-to-house campaign and to prohibit visit to longhouses, to ban public assembly and talk is against the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 10 of the federal constitution.

The reason for the state of emergency to be imposed in Sarawak was to fight against covid-19, however, this was lifted to pave the ways for 12th Sarawak Elections. To hold elections at this point of time is murderous and a show of no respect for the passing to Tan Sri James Masing and to Sarawakians who are still mourning the loss of a great Dayak leader.

Covid-19 chooses no enemy whether the person is a minister, young or old, rich or poor. Covid-19 is still serious and there was no good reason for the GPS government to seek the King to lift the state of emergency in Sarawak. In order to make sure that election period will be safe, the Elections Commission will be expected, to come with SOP to restrict travel and campaign for the elections. It is foreseeable that whatever measures that the Elections Commission will take will not be able to guarantee safe elections. No one will be safe.

It will be expected that the Elections Commission, beside imposing a total ban on public assembly or talk in public places, will not allow house-to-house campaign, visit to longhouse and to enter business premises during the campaign period. If these are imposed, this will make the coming 12th Sarawak Elections the dirtiest, unconstitutional and undemocratic elections of all Sarawak Elections. Such restrictions, if imposed, will cause the demise of democracy.

Citizens may see ministers and YBs of GPS accompanying the ministers on pretext of performing duties of ministers be campaigning, while opposition politicians right to campaign be curtailed by the SOP.

The Elections Commission, besides not allowing to hold public debates and public assembly, is expected to impose no house-to-house campaign, no visit to longhouses and to enter business premises. Such a move, if imposed, curtails politicians and their party workers from campaigning. The Election Act does not empower the Elections Commission to ban public assembly, talk and to ban travel by politicians and party workers to campaign house-to-house or to visit longhouses and enter business premises.

Even if there is, this could be void under the federal constitution because the federal constitution is the supreme law in the country.
To prohibit house-to-house campaign and to prohibit visit to longhouses, to ban public assembly and talk is against the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 10 of the federal constitution.

VOON LEE SHAN
President,
Parti Bumi Kenyalang

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