KUALA LUMPUR: Speculation on the dissolution of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly which has been swirling since last week became a reality after Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah today consented to the lifting of the Proclamation of Emergency for Sarawak.
In a statement, Istana Negara said Al-Sultan Abdullah gave the consent after granting an audience to Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud at Istana Negara yesterday to discuss the state’s application for the Emergency Proclamation to be lifted.
Commenting on the matter, constitutional expert Associate Professor Dr Khairil Azmin Mokhtar said this meant that the Sarawak state government was automatically dissolved on reaching its full term and that a state election has to be held.
“When the Proclamation of Emergency is lifted and the Emergency Ordinance repealed, the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly is then dissolved.
‘’According to Article 21 of the Sarawak State Constitution, when the state assembly is dissolved, a state election has to be held within 60 days of the date of dissolution of the assembly and a meeting of the new assembly has to be convened not later than 120 days from this date,” he told Benama.
On July 31 this year, Al-Sultan Abdullah consented to the Proclamation of Emergency for the whole of Sarawak beginning Aug 2 until Feb 2 next year, effectively suspending the holding of the state election during this period.
According to Clause (3) Article 21 of the State Constitution, the State Legislative Assembly should have been dissolved on June 7, but the Clause had no effect as Paragraph 15(1)(a) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 has suspended the dissolution of the state assembly.
However, Section 2(2) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) (Sarawak) Ordinance 2021 promulgated following the Emergency Proclamation for Sarawak stated that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can lift the proclamation earlier after discussion with the Yang Dipertua Negeri.
Meanwhile, International Islamic University Malaysia law lecturer Prof Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood said there was no need for Tun Abdul Taib to announce the dissolution of the state assembly as the state government had already completed its five-year term and a state election should be held.
“There is no need for the TYT (Yang Dipertua Negeri) to announce the dissolution of the state assembly because it has been dissolved.
“The action that can be taken now is to inform the Speaker (of Sarawak State Assembly) and Election Commission that the state assembly has been dissolved so that a state election can be held within 60 days,” he added.