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Three scenarios for next  general election from March to June


Speech
-
Segamat DAP ceramah
by Lim Kit Siang

(SegamatSunday): When I first came into the hall, the first question I was asked was when is the next general election. 

When the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi visited Johore a few days ago, he said the Johore Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman kept asking him when is the next general election. 

This undoubtedly is one of the top questions being asked by the people in the country at present. 

There are three scenarios for the timing of the next  general election in the next three months from March  to June. 

Scenario 1: Dissolution of Parliament before March 8, the date fixed for its official opening for the sixth meeting of the Tenth Parliament  by the Yang di Pertuan Agong  - paving the way for the general election with polling day falling on March 20 or 27. 

Scenario 2: If Parliament reconvenes on March 8 with the official opening by the Yang di Pertuan Agong held as scheduled, dissolution after the completion of parliamentary meetings of both Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara Dewan Rakyat till April 15 and Dewan Negara till May 6. Polling could be at the end of May or early June. 

Scenario 3: The question is whether Abdullah would dissolve Parliament when it is meeting mid-way, as happened in the 1999 general election, when Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad dissolved Parliament in the mid-way of the 2000 budget debate in November 1999  - which was highly objectionable on two grounds: (i) a waste of public funds to the tune of several millions of ringgit if not RM10 million ringgit as all  the Parliamentary meetings in October and November 1999 were wasted and all the bills passed by the Dewan Rakyat lapsed after dissolution, requiring a repeat debate and passage of all the parliamentary business after the general election; and (ii) an utter contempt of Parliament as there was no constitutional crisis to justify such a contemptuous treatment of Parliament. 

Would Abdullah, with his pledge of an honest, clean, incorruptible, open and accountable government and  the promise to respect and uphold the doctrine of the separation of powers in the relationship between the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, begin his premiership by doing what Mahathir only did after 22 years in the highest office in the land   wasting public funds by dissolving Parliament during mid-way of meeting when there is no constitutional or political crisis? 

May be one way out of this dilemma will be for Abdullah to dissolve Parliament immediately after  the Dewan Rakyat ends its first parliamentary business to  debate the Royal Address in the third week of March before it starts to debate and approve government bills, where  he will also be able to cite another justification to save some RM10 million of public funds to coincide national election with the Sabah state general election whose term expires on April 12. 

In this third scenario, the polling day could fall in the month of April.

(15/2/2004)


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman