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LETTER | It takes two hands to clap and two to tango

LETTER | In response to Perikatan Nasional chairperson Muhyiddin Yassin’s salvo at him, veteran Umno leader Shahrir Samad reminded Muhyiddin that dissolving Parliament or a state legislative assembly (SLA) is not a simple process.

“Wanting to dissolve the Dewan Rakyat or state assembly is not as easy as ‘pressing a button’,” he said in a statement on Facebook.

Muhyiddin had called former minister Shahrir foolish for challenging Bersatu, which the former is the president, to withdraw its support for the Umno-led Johor state government.

Muhyiddin had said his party would not do it. He said for the sake of the people, the party would not want what happened in Malacca to repeat itself in Johor.

But even if Muhyiddin were to resort to the same move as in Malacca, as Shahrir pointed out, there is the state constitution which needs to be followed. The dissolution of the state legislative assembly is the prerogative of the state ruler or governor.

On the state constitutional provisions on the dissolution of state assemblies, the Court of Appeal in the case of Musa Aman and others v Juhar Mahiruddin and others [2021] held that the decision whether or not to dissolve the state assembly is in the absolute discretion of the state governor or Yang di-Pertua Negeri (YDPN). The YDPN does not act on the advice of the executive council in the matter of dissolution of the state legislature.

The dissolution of the state assembly is not justiciable and consequently not amenable for judicial review. That is also the decision of High Court judge Noorin Badaruddin in dismissing former Malacca chief minister Adly Zahari’s bid to obtain leave from the High Court to stop the Malacca state election scheduled for November 20.

The dissolution of the legislatures of Sabah (July 2020) and Malacca (October 2021) shows how it is done: a request by the chief minister and the YDPN acceding to that request.

However, the YDPN also has the discretion to refuse the request and the exercise of the discretion is non-justiciable.

As the saying goes - it takes two hands to clap and two to tango.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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