There has to be a by-election for the Sarawak state assembly seat of Batang Ai following the death of assemblyman Datuk Dublin Unting today.

Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said this was because the Sarawak state assembly was only over two years old and according to the state constitution the assembly’s term ends in July 2011.

“Which means there are more than two years to go. So a by-election is necessary,” he told Bernama here.

Abdul Aziz said this when asked to comment about the death of Dublin, 53, the vice-president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) at the Normah Medical Centre in Kuching at 1.25am today due to a stroke suffered in May last year that left him in a coma.

He was also state minister for sports and agriculture.

In KUCHING, state legislative assembly speaker Abang Othman Abang Fata said the EC would be notified of the vacancy of the Batang Ai state seat by today.

“At the moment we are waiting the issuance of the death certificate from the National Registration Department so that we can inform the EC,” he told Bernama here today.

The Sarawak state election was last held on May 20 2006 and the Sarawak BN won 62 seats of the 71 seats contested while nine seats fell to the opposition, six to the DAP and two to Parti Keadilan Rakyat. One seat was won by an independent candidate.

Sarawak BN comprises Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP).

— BERNAMA