KUALA LUMPUR: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) hopes that the Election Commission (EC) will relax a bit, the standard operating procedure (SOP) in the upcoming Sarawak State Election including allowing house-to-house campaigning.

Its secretary-general Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said this was in view of the state's expansive landscape and its limited Internet and telecommunications coverage.

He said these might cause difficulties for the political parties and candidates contesting to campaign, especially in the interior areas if campaigning would only be allowed through the social and electronic media.

"We hope that house-to-house campaigning be permitted as we don't have complete communication facilities yet, but there (in the Melaka State Election) they were using phones, the television, Internet and so on.

"So, if some relaxation is given, to me, it's the best thing as although the SOP is to be complied with to curb the spread of COVID-19, there is also the need for the election candidates and political parties' representatives to interact with the supporters and voters."

He said this to reporters after the official opening of the Kapit branch office of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Sarawak Region, here, today with NIOSH chairman, Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong also present.

Nanta, who is also Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, was asked to comment on the media reports yesterday on the EC expected to relax the SOP during the Sarawak State Election campaign.

This is due to the state's expansive geographical area with a sparse population in some localities compared to Melaka which is small but heavily populated.

The SOP set for the Melaka State Election includes no face-to-face campaigning by the candidates and party machinery, gatherings, talks and house-to-house visits allowed.

Asked on the GPS and Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) logos that are almost similar, using the hornbill as the symbol which might cause confusion to some of the voters, Nanta said GPS believed that it would not affect the coalition as the colours used and the shapes were different.

The EC will hold a meeting next Wednesday on holding the Sarawak State Election such as the date for the writ to be issued, nomination and polling dates, the voter register to be used and other related matters.