Separate polls unlikely, say pundits

‘It’s impractical and costly and will probably meet the resistance of EC, which has the final say.’

Alyaa Azhar and Priscilla Prasena, FMT

Political analysts have scoffed at the idea of holding state elections and the parliamentary election on different dates, saying it would be costly and impractical.

Three analysts told FMT today that the Election Commission (EC) was likely to use its authority to prevent separate elections, proposed yesterday to Pakatan Rakyat state governments by Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

“The EC has already made a statement saying that elections will be held simultaneously; so I don’t see the possibility of having separate state and parliamentary elections,” said Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia.

“Even if the Pakatan states decide to dissolve their assemblies, the EC has full authority to decide when elections will be held.

“State governments cannot hold their own elections. They can only advice the state rulers when to dissolve state assemblies.”

Yesterday, in a bid to pressure Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to call for the dissolution of Parliament, Khalid announced that Selangor would wait for its legislative assembly to dissolve automatically on April 22, and try to persuade the governments of Kedah, Kelantan and Penang to dissolve their respective legislative assemblies on the same date.

Law professor Shad Saleem Faruqi of UiTM and Merdeka Centre chief Ibrahim Suffian agreed with Pandian that the EC would probably object to the proposal and scuttle the idea.

Even in the unlikely event of EC supporting the proposal, Faruqi said, the financial cost of holding separate elections would make it unwise.