Press Conference Statement (3) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya April 10, 1986:
With the latest Sabah developments, there is now a possibility that Dr. Mahathir may not call national general elections until June or July
With the latest Sabah developments, where there is going to be a free-for-all in the state general elections, there is now a possibility that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, may not call national general elections to coincide with the Sabah State General Elections.
There is no doubt that if the Prime Minister had succeeded in getting his Sabah Formula accepted by the Sabah parties, or he had been able to get PBS to agree to a Barisan Nasional arrangement, national general elections would have been summoned to coincide with the Sabah State general elections.
We cannot however rule out completely the possibility of national general elections being held in early May, and for this reason, all DAP leaders, State Committees and branches should not let up in their elections preparations until there is no shadow of doubt of national general elections not being held early next month. The DAP must always maintain the highest level of preparedness to face general elections at any time.
However, if the Prime Minister is to hold general elections in Malaysia to coincide with the Sabah general elections on May 5 and 6, he would have to amend the Elections (Conduct of Elections)Regulations 1981 making the next general elections the most unfair and one-sided general elections in Malaysian history.
Under the present Regulations, Section 3, provides that after dissolution, the Elections Commission shall gazette and publish in one or more daily newspapers the elections writs specifiying the nomination and polling dates. The Regulations provides for a minimum of seven days between notification and nomination, and a minimum of 14 days between nomination and polling – making a minimum of at least 22 days from dissolution to polling.
There is talk that this campaign period of a minimum of 14 days would be cut down to seven days, making a minimum of at least 15 days between dissolution and polling.
Parliament cannot dissolve until the conclusion of Dewan Negara proceedings, for Parliament is defined in Article 44 as consisting of ‘the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the two Houses of Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat”. If Dewan Negara does not pass all the Bills already adopted by Dewan Rakyat, and Royal Assent is not given, the Bills would lapse.
Dewan Negara is scheduled to meet till April 18, although there is nothing to stop the Dewan Negara from steam rolling through all its business and ending earlier.
The Prime Minister, therefore, has still the option to call national general elections to coincide with the Sabah general elections, but only by conducting the most unfair and one-sided general elections in Malaysian electoral history, which will bring shame and dishonor to our system of parliamentary democracy.