Dissolution of M’sian state assembly may prompt call for election

By Sarban Singh | Source: ANN
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has until midnight tomorrow if he wishes to call for the 13th general election before the first expiry of a state legislative assembly.

Whether he will seek to dissolve the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) before then is another question although observers believe he will want to do so.

The Negri Sembilan assembly will automatically expire at midnight tomorrow the first legislature in the country to complete its term after the 2008 general election.

The 36-member assembly was sworn in on March 27, 2008, and had its first sitting on April 25, 2008.

According to Section 56(3) of The Laws of the Constitution of Negri Sembilan 1959, the assembly, unless dissolved sooner, will continue for five years from the day of its first sitting.

Mentri Besar Mohamad Hasan said: “According to the Interpretation Act 1948 and 1967, the five-year period does not include the day of the swearing-in. So, if the prime minister does not dissolve the Dewan Rakyat sooner, the Negri Sembilan assembly will automatically dissolve at midnight on Wednesday.”

After the dissolution, he added, the state executive committee would function as the caretaker state government.

“I will continue as Mentri Besar and together with my exco members, we’ll see to the day-to-day running of the state government,” Mohamad said yesterday.

However, the other members of the assembly would no longer be Yang Berhormat.

He stressed that the caretaker government would not introduce new policies or legislation.

He said there was no need to seek the consent of the state ruler Tuanku Muhriz on the dissolution because the five-year-period had lapsed.

In the last election, Barisan Nasional won 21 of the 36 state seats and five of the eight parliamentary seats.

State Election Commission director Afizam Abdullah Sani said the administration of the state should continue as usual once the assembly had been dissolved, but the caretaker government could not introduce new policies.

“Otherwise, it will be business as usual,” he added.

State Opposition chief Anthony Loke Siew Fook said the Election Commission should spell out the functions of a caretaker government.

“We asked the EC to do so some time ago but have yet to receive any positive feedback,” he added.