KUCHING – The Sarawak State Assembly today notified the Election Commission (EC) of the vacancy for the N67 Jepak state seat following the death of its incumbent, Datuk Talib Zulpilip last Friday.
Sarawak state assembly speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar said he had submitted an email to EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Salleh on the notice of vacancy as required under Article 21 (5) of the Sarawak State Constitution.
“Under Article 21(5), whenever the seat of an elected member has become vacant for any reason other than a dissolution, the vacancy shall, within 60 days from the date on which it is established by the Election Commission that there is a vacancy, be filled by election in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference here, he said the term for the current state assembly would only end on Feb 14, 2027, and since the seat became vacant more than two years before the end of the term, a by-election must be held.
“As the unexpected vacancy of the seat takes place more than two years before the state assembly is automatically dissolved, a by-election must be held according to Article 21(5) of the Sarawak State Constitution,” he said.
Talib, 72, breathed his last at 5.50 pm due to kidney complications after being admitted to the Normah Medical Centre here a day earlier.
He was a Minister in the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) before the 12th State Election in 2021 and had served as Jepak assemblyman for six terms since 1996, making him among the longest-serving assemblymen in the state.
In the last election, he retained the seat by garnering 6,277 votes to win by a 4,243 majority, beating three other candidates.
Meanwhile, when commenting on the status of Sarawak opposition party, Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) assemblymen in the state assembly, Mohamad Asfia said their position would remain as it is for now.
PSB had recently announced their support for the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government and had intended to merge with one of the GPS component parties, the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).
“The sitting arrangement (in the state assembly) is at the discretion of the Speaker. This is governed by whether that merger is recognised and sanctioned by the ruling GPS. If it is not sanctioned, then the status quo remains,” he added.
Currently, GPS, which also comprises Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), and the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), holds 76 of the 82 state seats, while PSB has three, DAP has two, and an independent holds one seat. – Bernama