KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the dissolution of Parliament this evening to pave the way for an early polls that must be held sixty days from now, ignoring appeals from the Opposition and lawmakers from within his own party not to hold the 15th general election until next year as the country prepares to face the annual monsoon floods.
The announcement, while expected, still came as a surprise, given that his administration had just tabled next year's federal budget last Friday.
Political analysts believe Umno has been pushing for an early election as it looks to ride on the momentum built since earlier this year, and also to avoid going into the polls when conditions become increasingly unfavourable as more voters grow frustrated with the state of the economy.
“With this, I would like to announce that yesterday afternoon I was granted an audience with His Majesty, the Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and presented the letter to His Majesty regarding the dissolution of the 14th Parliament,” Ismail Sabri said in a special address broadcasted ‘live’ on television.
“In line with Article 40(2)(b) and Article 55(2) of the Federal Constitution, His Majesty, the Agong, acted according to his discretion and assented to my appeal for the 14th Parliament to be dissolved today, Monday October 14, 2022.”
Ismail Sabri then called for states under Opposition rule to “take the necessary steps” to dissolve their respective state legislative assemblies and hold elections simultaneously.
Pakatan Harapan, the biggest Opposition coalition now in control of Selangor, Penang and Negri Sembilan, had rejected calls for the state assemblies to be dissolved before 2023, insisting that polls should only be held after the floods subside.
“I would recommend that heads of states except the governments of Sabah, Sarawak, Melaka and Johor take the necessary steps to dissolve their respective state assemblies on the same date as the general election at the parliamentary level even if several states had decided not to,” Ismail Sabri said.
“It is best that the polls are held simultaneously so that the people are not burdened, next to saving costs and ensuring a smooth democratic process.”
Today’s announcement came amid heightened speculation that Ismail Sabri and Umno are pushing for a general election to be held by early November, when the flood situation is expected to remain manageable.
But the Election Commission will still have the final say on when the official campaigning period will begin and the date for polling.
Ismail Sabri suggested paving the way for the national polls to happen sooner than June next year, when the 14th term officially expires, is the best solution to end the political instability besetting three administrations in the span of just four years.
Early elections, he contended, would put an end to all doubts about the current government’s legitimacy.
“With this announcement, the mandate will be returned to the people,” he said.
“The peoples’ mandate is the potent cure to manifest political stability and shape a strong government that is stable and respected after the 15th general election.
“This is a process that is based on the system of parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy that are the pillars of our leadership since Independence.
“The dissolution will silence the voices that all this while have questioned the legitimacy of this government, this so-called back-door government or hole-in-the-roof government.”