Expert: It is Mentri Besar's prerogative to call for snap polls

Expert: It is Mentri Besar's prerogative to call for snap polls
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (left), leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), a Malaysian opposition party, with party member Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Menteri Besar of Selangor, at a press conference on Selangor issues in Petaling Jaya, on 28 January 2014.

KUALA LUMPUR - Only the Mentri Besar can seek snap elections, not party members, a constitutional expert said.

Prof Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said it was then up to the Sultan to grant the request to dissolve the state assembly.

"Snap polls means dissolving the state assembly and that is the privilege of the Mentri Besar (Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim)."

The Sultan can question the need for snap polls. "It has only been 15 months since the last general election," Dr Shad said yesterday.

He said Khalid could lose his position if he loses a motion of no confidence in the state assembly.

"Or he can be expelled from the party and becomes a political orphan and an independent state assemblyman. However, if Khalid can prove to the Sultan that he has the support of others, he can be retained.

"However, it doesn't look good as he seems to have lost the support of PKR and DAP," he said.

He was commenting on Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's statement that he was confident the leadership crisis plaguing Selangor could be resolved amicably in the "true Pakatan spirit" either through a smooth transition, vote of no-confidence, or even snap elections.

Dr Shad said no one but the Mentri Besar had the legal authority to call for snap polls, adding that Anwar could merely advise or instruct his party members.

"Don't forget that Khalid has two capacities, one as a PKR party member and the other, as the appointee of the Sultan. In the latter capacity, he does not take orders from anyone."

Khalid's political secretary Azman Abidin added that the Sultan could decline to dissolve the assembly and instead advise Khalid to resign.

Article 70(4) of the Selangor state constitution states that polls must be called within 60 days of the dissolution of the State Assembly, which according to Article 70(2) must be done by the Selangor Sultan.

Azman said the next state legislative assembly meeting was in November and only then could a vote of no-confidence be passed against Khalid.

An earlier meeting can be called by the Speaker by obtaining the Sultan's consent but the ruler can always reject that request, too, he said.

Knowing Khalid, Azman said he would not allow the situation to deteriorate to the extent of having to call for fresh state polls.

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