ANYONE'S GUESS: Negri assembly will automatically dissolve on Wednesday
THE dissolution of Parliament to pave the way for the 13th general election can take place as early as today, prompted by the automatic dissolution of the Negri Sembilan state assembly on Wednesday.
Theoretically, the end of the state assembly may be the unofficial start of the 60-day period for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to call for the election since Negri Sembilan was the first state to hold its assembly sitting after the 2008 general election.
This is due to a decision made by the Election Commission, and announced by chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, to hold the federal and state elections simultaneously (except for Sarawak).
The next possible date for the announcement of dissolution will be on Monday following the final leg of the Jelajah Janji Ditepati nationwide tour in Kuantan on Saturday.
Najib is expected to deliver an important speech at the finale of the highly successful roadshow, which took off in Batu Pahat in April last year.
His visits have attracted mammoth turnouts each time.
Najib's packed schedule over the next few days will include attending a grand fund-raising dinner for Chung Hwa School in Kuantan on Saturday, the Formula 1 Grand Prix and Malaysian Open Golf championship on Sunday and the opening of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition on Tuesday.
As such, he could also possibly announce dissolution in early April, with Malaysia's 13.3 million voters casting their ballots late that month.
However, some political pundits are leaning towards the possibility of Barisan Nasional completing its full term as a governing entity, as there has yet to be any affirmative sign for an earlier parliamentary dissolution.
And April 27 is expected to be the last day for Parliament to be dissolved as the elected representatives took their oath as parliamentarians on April 28, 2008 -- the same expiry date for the Perlis state assembly this year.
Analysts have also opined that there was nothing to compel Najib to call for the dissolution of government earlier than the due date, given the fact that the government could opt for the complete five-year term.
"I am sure that the prime minister will wait until the end.
"Looking at the current timeline, Najib is in a position to do so, as he has passed the generally traditional four-year mark to dissolve Parliament," said Universiti Utara Malaysia political scientist Dr Muhmmad Fuad Othman.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malay-sia's Professor Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, meanwhile, predicted that nomination day could well be held in late April and the election in May.
However, others have argued that this may not be the first instance for BN to complete its five-year term, saying that it had done so from 1969 to 1974 after the third general election.
In adhering to the suggestions by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms, the campaigning period would also be for not more than 11 days, as amended in Section 3(1) of the Electoral Procedures Act.
"It (a long campaigning period) will not be cost-effective and a waste of time.
"There was a time when the campaigning period went on for about a month (from 1959 to 1969).
"That is simply too long," said Aziz.
Among the changes made to the electoral procedures were the usage of indelible ink, the eligibility for all Malaysian-registered voters abroad to cast ballots and the abolition of the objection period.