SIBU: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president Dr Annuar Rapaee said he expects the 12th Sarawak State Election to be held by mid-December, following the royal consent for the lifting of the Proclamation of Emergency in Sarawak today.

He said this would end the wait for the 12th Sarawak State Election which has to be held within 60 days after the dissolution of the state assembly.

"At the latest, I would think, election will be held in mid-December. But it can be held earlier too," he said when contacted by Bernama here today.

The consent for the lifting of the Proclamation of Emergency in Sarawak was granted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah today would pave the way for the dissolution of the Sarawak State Assembly.

Asked about concerns over a possible increase in COVID-19 cases during the election, Dr Annuar, who is also Nangka assemblyman, said that campaigning activities should be given critical focus as infection could occur at that time.

"Infection can be avoided if there is no public meeting. Currently, only 100 people are allowed to attend any assembly, and for the election itself, there is no issue," said Dr Annuar.

He explained that the voting process was conducted in a very orderly manner even though it was not held during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the country is still in the pandemic, with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) and an orderly voting process, there should be no reason why the spread of COVID-19 infection could not be controlled at that time, he said.

"Voting is not like people going to the market. Everything is in order. What is of concern is that the campaign activities involve a large number of attendees, which can be uncontrollable in terms of compliance with the SOPs," said Dr Annuar, who is also Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health..

He added that whether it is election time or not, the SOPs to prevent the spread of COVID-19 should be continued, and through his observation, the public is comfortable moving anywhere, indicating that they have become accustomed to complying with the SOPs.

Asked about the preparations for the PBB Nangka state constituency election machinery, Dr Annuar said that his party had been making preparations for the past three years to face it.

"I will use digital and multimedia in my campaign. A face-to-face campaign only for less than 100 attendees that will be conducted at a minimum," said Dr Annuar, who engaged young people in distributing campaign materials through social media.