No more state by-elections after Friday

There will be no more state by-elections in the country after tomorrow, except in Sarawak, the Election Commission (EC) chairman, Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, said.

He added that by tomorrow, May 20, these states would have reached their three-year mandate based on the dates they first convened their state legislative assembly sittings following the March 2008 general election.

Pahang is the last to hold their first sitting, which was on May 20, 2008.

“There are reports about states holding their first sittings in July 2008. There is no truth to this,” he told reporters.

Abdul Aziz had previously stated that parliamentary by-elections would no longer be held after April 28 this year because the current 12th parliament had served its three-year mandate, after which a by-election was no longer required in the event of a vacancy.

The current term of parliament ends in April 2013.

Article 54 (1) of the Federal Constitution states that by-elections only need to be held within the first three of the five-year mandate.

Abdul Aziz added that there were states such as Perlis, Kelantan and Negeri Sembilan which reached their three-year mandate simultaneously with that of parliament, which was on April 28.

Other states reached their three-year mandate much earlier, namely Melaka and Johor on April 21, Selangor (April 22) and Perak (April 25).

The three-year mandate for Kedah and Sabah state assemblies ended on May 5, Terengganu on May 7 and Penang on May 2.

Sarawak held its state election on April 16.

There are no state seats for the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.

By-elections, he said, could still be held when special needs arose such as to establish majority in the house.

“If there is a 50-50 situation, the speaker can write a letter to the EC to inform us about the situation and the EC can call a by-election to break the deadlock,” he said, adding that such a situation could occur in the event of death or abrupt resignations.

Sixteen by-elections had been held after the 12th general election — six for parliamentary seats and 10 for state seats, which cost the EC a total of RM11 million.

Of the state by-elections, Barisan Nasional (BN) won Batang Ai, Bagan Pinang, Galas, Tenang, Merlimau and Kerdau, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) won Bukit Selambau and Penanti, and PAS won Permatang Pasir and Manik Urai.

Of the parliamentary by-elections, the BN won Hulu Selangor and Batu Sapi, PKR won Permatang Pauh, PAS won Kuala Terengganu and Bukit Gantang, while DAP won Sibu.

Perlis is the only state not affected by the by-elections.

Twelve of the by-elections were held following the death of representatives due to health problems.  Batu Sapi MP Edmung Chong Ket Wah was killed in an accident.

Three of the seats — Permatang Pauh, Penanti and Bukit Selambau, fell vacant due to the resignations of incumbent members, all of whom were from PKR.

The number of by-election in the current term was the second highest in the country’s history. The highest was 17 by-elections which took place following the 1995 general election.

– Bernama