COMMENT In our federal system of government, the general election has to be held every five years for Parliament and the 13 state legislative assemblies. There is no constitutional reason why the general election for the 14 legislatures must be held at the same time.

Indeed, since Merdeka, there have been instances when national and state elections were held at different times. Even in 2013, no state election needs to be held in Sarawak because that state had its last one in 2011, which would take the term of its legislature to 2016.

However, because of the centralisation of power in Putrajaya and its control over the Election Commission (EC), the political reality is that the BN federal government decides when the national election will be held this year...

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