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Melaka state assembly dissolved, Election Commission to decide on next steps

Melaka state assembly dissolved, Election Commission to decide on next steps

File photo of Melaka. (Photo: Bernama)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Melaka state assembly was dissolved on Oct 4 (Monday) after four assemblymen withdrew their support for the chief minister, said the speaker of the legislature.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Ab Rauf Yusoh said that the current state government would act as a caretaker government until the next state election.

He also said that the decision to dissolve the state assembly was taken by governor Mohd Ali Rustam, following advice from Chief Minister Sulaiman Md Ali.

“(Governor) Mohd Ali Rustam had made the consideration and agreed to dissolve the state assembly on Oct 4. The proclamation of the dissolution was gazetted today, on Oct 5,” said Mr Ab Rauf.

The proclamation was handed over to the Election Commission (EC) at the press conference. 

When asked when the next state election would be held, Mr Ab Rauf said the decision would be made by the EC. 

“After we hand over the official letter to EC, it can suggest the standard operating procedures and the National Security Council (NSC) and Health Ministry (MOH) can make further decisions,” he added. 

Melaka was plunged into political turmoil after four assemblymen withdrew their support for Mr Sulaiman, who is from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

There are 28 seats in the Barisan Nasional-led Melaka state assembly.

Mr Sulaiman, who is from UMNO, is currently backed by 12 UMNO assemblymen and one state lawmaker from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

There are 15 assemblymen in the opposition bloc, comprising 11 from Pakatan Harapan and those who withdrew their support for Mr Sulaiman. 

Sungai Udang assemblyman and former chief minister Idris Haron, who is also from UMNO, led three other assemblymen in withdrawing support for the chief minister on Monday. 

Mr Idris on Monday appeared at a press conference with the opposition bloc to demand Mr Sulaiman’s resignation. They also said that they were seeking an audience with Mr Mohd Ali, the state governor to discuss the next steps.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Election Commission would ensure that strict health protocols were enforced if a state election was held in Melaka.

"My social media was flooded with comments from people concerned that a state election in Melaka could result in something similar to what happened in Sabah,” he was quoted as saying by the Star. 

"Because of the Sabah election (in September last year), we saw how COVID-19 cases went up. If Melaka were to have a state election, I believe the Election Commission will come up with strict standard operating procedures.”

Commenting on the matter in the parliament, UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said it is dangerous to hold snap polls in Melaka amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Malay Mail reported.  

“I am also of the view that this pandemic issue, based on opinions from the MOH and the NSC, it is very dangerous to have the state election be held within the 60-day period as stipulated under the Elections Act.

“Then surely, a guide as to what happened in Sarawak perhaps can be followed,” he was quoted as saying. 

The king had earlier extended the state of emergency in Sarawak until February next year to suspend regional polls. The Sarawak legislative assembly's five-year term had officially ended on Jun 6, but its dissolution is on hold with the state of emergency in effect. 

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Source: CNA/tx

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