Malaysia extends emergency rule in Sarawak state to stop polls

Malaysia is under emergency rule nationally to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but that is set to expire on Sunday.

  
A Malaysian flag flies outside Prime Minister's office, in Putrajaya, Malaysia September 24, 2020.

A Malaysian flag flies outside Prime Minister's office, in Putrajaya, Malaysia September 24, 2020.

REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia extended a state of emergency in the eastern state of Sarawak until February 2022 to suspend regional elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic, state news agency Bernama reported on Saturday.

Malaysia is under emergency rule nationally to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but that is set to expire on Sunday.

The emergency in Sarawak, however, will be extended until Feb. 2, Bernama reported, citing the government gazette.

King Al-Sultan Abdullah decreed that the emergency is to suspend the state election in order to prevent any further increase in the spread of COVID-19, Bernama reported.

The Sarawak legislative assembly's term had ended on June 6. The national emergency prevented an election from being held and allowed the term to be extended.

Malaysia's COVID-19 infections have spread rapidly in recent weeks. Daily cases hit a record 17,405 this week, and the total number of infections stood at 1,095,486 as of Friday.

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan) ((ananthalakshmi.as@thomsonreuters.com; Twitter: @AnanthalakshmiA;))


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