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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dateline passes for parliamentary by-elections

Dateline passes for parliamentary by-elections

There will be no by-elections for Parliament seats until the next federal polls as three years have passed since the 12th Dewan Rakyat first met on April 28, 2008.

Article 54 (1) of the federal constitution states that by-elections only need be held within the first three years of Parliament’s five-year mandate unless there is a special need such as to establish majority of the house.

“After today, no by-elections need to be held to fill vacancies in Parliament,” said deputy Election Commission (EC) chief Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.

This includes the Batu seat held by PKR vice president Chua Tian Chang, who is currently appealing a RM2,000 fine for biting a police officer which would disqualify him as an MP.

However, he said despite 16 by-elections since Election 2008, some state assembly seats still need be filled should there be a vacancy.

Wan Ahmad noted that several state legislatives first met more than two months after the March 8, 2008 general election, with Pahang being the last to sit on May 21.

Wan Ahmad called the 16 votes held so far as “practical training” for EC staff. The total is just one shy of the highest number held since the 1980s which was after the Ninth General Election held in 1995.

Six of the 16 polls held were for the parliamentary seats of Permatang Pauh, Kuala Terengganu, Bukit Gantang, Hulu Selangor, Sibu and Batu Sapi.

Except for Hulu Selangor and Batu Sapi, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) won these votes.

While the federal opposition took Kuala Terengganu and Sibu from Barisan Nasional (BN), the ruling coalition wrested Hulu Selangor from PKR.

The 16 by-elections cost the government over RM11 million with the Batu Sapi vote in Sarawak raking up the highest bill of RM1.29 million.

Wan Ahmad said this figure was only for the cost incurred by the EC and not other relevant agencies such as the police.

Three state seats are also the subject of court appeals.

However, as these cases can be taken to higher courts, most observers say it is unlikely that the Kota Seputeh, Port Klang and Lenggeng constituencies will see by-elections.

Malaysian Insider

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