By Sarban Singh
SEREMBAN: At the stroke of midnight on Wednesday, history will be made as the Negri Sembilan state assembly expires.
This unprecedented event sent law scholars and veteran journalists scurrying, but Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan is clear about the procedure.
“According to the state laws, the five-year term started the day after the first special meeting of the 12th term and that was on March 28, 2008.”
Mohamad said although the 36-member state legislature will automatically be dissolved at the stroke of midnight, the executive council would continue to meet as usual to discuss the day-to-day running of the state government and other minor matters.
“I will continue to remain as Mentri Besar and, together with my exco, will see the day-to-day running of the government.
“There has to be a caretaker government because we will have to pay wages and look into other matters during the period. Without a caretaker government, there will be anarchy,”
However, Mohamad said the remaining members of the assembly were no longer “Yang Berhormat” nor could claim to be wakil rakyat in their respective constituencies as their tenure would have automatically ended.
“The MB and the state exco are different as they wear two songkoks. One is as wakil rakyat and the other as a government employee.
“So we will continue to serve as the caretaker government until the election,” he said rubbishing talk that the state government would become an illegal entity after it completes its five-year mandate.
Mohamad said he also had his regular weekly audience with Yang di-Pertuan Besar Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir at Istana Hinggap on Wednesday.
“I briefed Tuanku about developments in the state as well as the functions of the caretaker government, which will come into force tomorrow,” he said, adding that the Ruler had told him to do the necessary.
The state assembly was officially opened by the then Yang di-Pertua Negri, the late Tuanku Ja’afar Tuanku Abdul Rahman, on April 25, 2008.
The automatic dissolution of the Negri Sembilan assembly Wednesday will go down in Malaysian history as the first state legislature to be disbanded in such a manner since 1959.
Mohamad said he had decided to hold the first sitting of the state legislature earlier than the other states after the 2008 elections because he wanted the assemblymen “to get started”.
“I did not want to wait longer because the people expect to see their wakil rakyat working,” he said.
The state assemblies whose terms are due to expire next are those of Johor and Malacca (April 21) followed by Selangor (April 25). — Star