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Dewan Negara sitting moved up - strongest sign of April dissolution

Published:  |  Modified:

The Dewan Negara sitting has been moved forward so that it will end on the same day as the Dewan Rakyat, on April 5.

According to a circular to senators, the Dewan Negara sitting which was initially slated for April 16 to April 30, will now sit concurrently with the Dewan Rakyat next Monday.

The change is the strongest indication yet the Parliament may be dissolved shortly after April 5.

It was initially speculated that Parliament could be dissolved early at the end of March, immediately after the new electoral boundaries is tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.

The argument for the early dissolution was based on the fact that the Election Commission's (EC) redelineation only requires approval in the lower house, thus making the upper house a non-factor.

However, a supplementary budget bill was today tabled in the Dewan Rakyat, seeking an additional funding RM7.12 billion.

While the redelineation does not require the Dewan Negara's approval, the supplementary budget does.

Speculation has been that the general election would either be held in early May or late August, the statutory deadline for the general election.

The general election is unlikely to be held between May and August due to the fasting period, the harvest festival in East Malaysia and followed by the haj period.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's former political secretary Oh Ei Sun had broken from majority view and predicted an August general election, citing time constraints for preparations. 

However, with the rescheduling of the Dewan Negara, it appears that a May election is more likely, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

The EC must call a general election within 60 days when the Parliament is dissolved but normally does it earlier than the deadline. The August House lasts for five years after the first sitting.

For the 13th general election, Parliament was dissolved on April 3 and the general election was set on May 5 with a 15-day campaigning period beginning April 20.

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