Wednesday June 27, 2012
State to get RM78mil, largest portion of polls budget
By VANES DEVINDRAN
KUCHING: There are only 31 parliamentary seats to focus on in Sarawak but the state will be getting the largest portion of the election budget for the general polls.
Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar revealed that of the more than RM300mil set aside, the state would be receiving RM78mil.
“Yes, Sarawak is the biggest indefinitely despite only having 31 seats to focus on. This is because 56% of the budget would go towards the rental of logistics,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
He said details of the budget had been done in consultation with the Finance Ministry after thorough assessment on the logistics needed.
He said there would be 1,756 polling stations in the state with 2,667 streams spread out in the 861 polling districts.
With the vastness and rugged terrains of Sarawak, he said the EC would be using all sorts of transportations, including two fixed-wing aircraft, 27 helicopters, 777 boats, 53 speedboats and 4,600 four-wheel drives and cars.
The helicopters, he said, would be needed in 15 parliamentary constituencies namely Santubong, Mambong, Batang Lupar, Sri Aman, Lubok Antu, Betong, Tanjong Manis, Julau, Kanowit, Selangau, Kapit, Hulu Rajang, Baram, Limbang and Lawas to cater to 133 polling stations.
Other figures he mentioned was that 1,053 schools, 412 longhouses, 129 community halls, 73 halls and 89 other venues would be used as polling stations in the state.
The EC manpower for Sarawak consists of 22,546 persons, including 31 Returning Officers, 122 assistant Returning Officers, 64 heads of the enforcement team.
Wan Ahmad said the Parliament could be dissolved any time as its last sitting would be on April 27 next year.
“So there’s all sorts of possibility when the election will be held and its entirely up to the Prime Minister. Following the dissolution, we will have up to 60 days to call for the election. What we need to do is be best prepared for this,” he said.
Going by what Wan Ahmad said, the election is unlikely to occur before the fasting month given the EC had set June 30 as the deadline for its outreach programmes and talks.
After which, the EC would fine-tune the preparation details by August and oversee other aspects like budget add-ons where necessary.
Nonetheless, Wan Ahmad said there was also the weather and monsoon season to consider given flooding was likely to take place in the peninsula at the end of the year.
Same goes for Sarawak whereby wind conditions in the interior could make it impossible for the helicopters to fly.
“As it is on normal days, helicopters need to fly off before 3pm in some of the areas here because of dangerous wind conditions so all this would be considered so that the election process would move on smoothly.
“The prime minister is well aware of this,” he added.