Sarawak CM says state elections ‘still long way off’

Desmond Davidson

Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg says the way to state elections is like the road from Kuching to Sebangan, full of bends and corners. – The Malaysian Insight pic, July 9, 2020.

THE Sarawak chief minister today hinted that the state elections will not be taking place for some time yet.

In response to a question on Parti Pesaka Bumipuutera Bersatu’s (PBB) pick to replace the Kalaka assemblyman, Abang Johari Openg said there was no hurry to name Abdul Wahab Aziz’s replacement.

Wahab announced yesterday he would not be defending the seat he had held for six terms since 1996. 

“The elections are still a long way off,” he said, eliciting laughter from the Sarawak ministers and their assistants at a press conferance in Sebangan, Samarahan.

Abang Johari is the president of PBB, the largest component of the state’s ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition.

Asked how far off the elections were, he said there were yet more bends and corners to negotiate.

“It’s like taking the road to Sebangan. A lot of bends and corners,” he said in reference to the 50km road from Kuching to the district. 

The state government’s mandate expires next June but talk is rife that the election could be held this year, in September or October.

Abang Johari, who inherited the chief minister’s post upon the death of Adenan Satem in January 2017 will go into the elections seeking his own mandate.

Meanwhile, the chief minister today denied Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee’s claim that the state cabinet had abandoned the open tender process for the work packages for the coastal highway, second trunk road and other mega projects.

“No, no we haven’t (abandoned the tender process).”

He said the state infrastructure and ports development ministry would soon provide an explanation on the matter.

“We haven’t given up. There is a procedure to comply with,” he said briefly. – July 9, 2020.

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