Thursday September 13, 2012
Ruler usually acts on the advice of MB, says don
PETALING JAYA: A Ruler can only dissolve the State Assembly to pave the way for a state election upon the advice of their respective Chief Minister or Mentri Besar, said Prof Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi, Emeritus professor of law at Universiti Teknologi Mara.
The Ruler does, however, have the power to withhold consent to a request by the Chief Minister or Mentri Besar to dissolve the State Assembly.
“The Ruler's power is to say yes or no to a request for a dissolution, not to compel for an early dissolution,” he said.
Shad Faruqi said this when asked to comment on the possible scenarios which could arise following the decision by Pakatan Rakyat to hold State Assembly elections in Selangor separately from Parliamentary polls, with Penang and Kedah undecided on the matter.
He said while the Ruler had a clear Constitutional discretion to withhold consent to a request to dissolve the State Assembly, the Ruler would according to convention normally accept such requests.
He said that Rulers could refuse consent in exceptional circum-stances such as when there is clear abuse of power by the State executive.
On the cut-off point or final date by which a State Assembly must be dissolved, Shad said a State Assembly's term expires five years from the date the Assembly holds its first meeting following an election.
The date varies in a number of states.
For example, while the five-year term of the Dewan Rakyat expires on April 28 next year, the term of the Selangor State Assembly ends on April 22.
The Penang State Assembly's term meanwhile expires on May 2 while the Kelantan and Kedah State Assembly terms end on April 28 and May 5 respectively.
Following a dissolution of the State Assembly, the Election Commission is empowered to fix the date of the election which must be held within 60 days.