6th March 2013: While the current Barisan Nasional Federal government may continue after this Friday, five years to the day the last general election was held in 2008, its political legitimacy can be questioned, said a constitutional law expert.
"BN remaining in office from March 9 to June 28, 2013 is constitutional and legal, but its political legitimacy and moral authority are in question.
"Voters can legitimately say that they voted for a BN government on March 8, 2008 to govern for five years, and if that government does not choose to secure another mandate within that period, it becomes a caretaker government," said prominent lawyer Tommy Thomas in an article published by news portal Malaysiakini.
According Tommy, the current parliament will expire on April 28 this year, and general election must be held within 60 days, by June 28.
However, he said if prime minister Najib Razak's administration would like to stick to the tradition of holding state and parliamentary elections on the same day, parliament should be dissolved much earlier than May 26.
This is because May 26 is the last day polling must be held for Negri Sembilan, whose state assembly expires automatically on March 26.
Tommy (pic, left) said the Westminster-style system adopted in Malaysia meant that the PM could dictate the date of election, even to call for polls much earlier.
He recalled that in utilising this privilege, all past prime ministers including Abdullah Badawi had dissolved parliament early.
"So why has Najib Abdul Razak not utilised the privilege attached to his office by advising the Agong to dissolve Parliament before the expiry of his term, to be followed by GE13? Only one answer can be inferred: BN is running scared of defeat," he added.
He said the ties between politics and business could also lend credence to the theory that the government would like to enter into contracts benefitting its political coffers ahead of the elections.
Tommy called on Najib to dissolve parliament this Saturday, when the five-year term since the last general election ends, in which case it will be right to call the present government a 'caretaker government'.
"Ultimately, it is pointless to speculate. The undeniable fact is that five years would pass this weekend after the holding of the last election, with no announcement of a dissolution of Parliament and the fixing of the date for GE13. When this occurs, the BN government forfeits the moral high ground to govern our nation," wrote Tommy.Best viewed using Mozilla Firefox 9.0.1 or Chrome with 1280x800 resolution.