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Malaysia polls: Negeri Sembilan assembly automatically dissolved

Published on Mar 28, 2013 12:00 AM
The pressure is on for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, seen here in a February 28, 2013, file photo, to call national elections soon. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - The legislative assembly of Negeri Sembilan has automatically dissolved on Thursday as the government’s mandate comes to its legal end. This is the first time in Malaysian history that a state assembly has automatically dissolved.

At the stroke of midnight, the state assembly of Negeri Sembilan, one of the 13 states in the country, reached the end of its five-year term. The state will now have 60 days to hold elections.

Negeri Sembilan will now be administered by a caretaker government, which means the elected representatives in the state will not meet to debate or pass laws.

While the Menteri Besar will head the caretaker government to oversee the daily running of the state, the caretaker government is not allowed to pass new laws or approve development projects until the first assembly convenes after the state polls.

"There has to be a caretaker government because we will have to pay wages and look into other matters during the period. Without a caretaker government, there will be anarchy,” Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, the Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar, said on Wednesday.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has yet to seek royal assent to dissolve the parliament, whose term will be up by April 28, to pave the way for nation-wide elections. Negeri Sembilan’s automatic dissolution is likely to put more pressure on him to call the polls within the next few days, as he must hold the simultaneous elections latest by May 26.

After Negeri Sembilan, Pahang’s term would be up by April 6, while Johor and Malacca, by April 21. Opposition Pakatan Rakyat said it is mulling the dissolving of state assemblies it leads, namely Penang, Selangor, Kelantan and Kedah, on April 22, the day the Selangor state assembly expires.

The general election will be seen as the hardest-fought one, as both the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and opposition Pakatan Rakyat face the fiercest competition ever to win federal power for the next five years.