Melaka, not the first time state polls held on their own

KUALA LUMPUR: The Melaka State Election, which will take place next month, will not be the first such polls to take place outside the ambit of the General Election.

The Melaka polls is the second such state election to be held after the Sabah polls last year, following the 14th General Election.

Previously, snap polls have taken place in Kelantan and Sabah, whereas state polls have also been held outside the ambit of the General Election in Sabah and Sarawak.

In Kelantan, following the 1977 Kelantan Emergency, a snap election was called in March 1978, four months earlier than the Malaysian general election in July 1978.

The Kelantan state of emergency was declared following a political impasse and its civil disturbance aftermath in 1977 in the east coast state. null

The political crisis came to fruition after then Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Muhammad Nasir of Pas which was part of the Barisan Nasional (BN) faced problems from within the Islamic party. 

A no-confidence motion was tabled in the state assembly which 20 Pas assemblymen backing the motion while 14 BN assemblymen walked out in protest. 

Nasir who refused to step down despite losing the vote of confidence instead sought to dissolve the State Assembly to pave the way for a state election but the head of state refused to accede. This saw Menteri Besar’s supporters resorting to violence and looting. 

Following the imposition of an emergency, a state election was held in March 1978 and saw Umno winning 23 seats, while the newly formed BERJASA, a Pas splinter headed by Nasir won 11 and Pas retaining only two seats. 

The state election result paved the way for Umno to form its first government in the East Coast state headed Tan Sri Mohammed Yaacob who remained as the Menteri Besar until the 1990 General Election when Kelantan retained the state government. 

NSTP file pic
NSTP file pic

Sabah was another state which saw snap polls being held before its existing mandate was over and holding polls outside the usual general Election period. 

This was seen in 2020 after the Sabah State Assembly was dissolved on July 30 following a political crisis. 

Incumbent Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal from Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) dissolved the state assembly after Umno’s Tan Sri Musa Aman claimed to have the numbers to form the next state government after defections of lawmakers from the Warisan Plus government bench. 

The state election was conducted under the special standard operating procedures (SOP) imposed by the Electoral Commission (EC) as the country was still under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) brought about by the Covid-19. 

The Sept 26 polls saw Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) carry the state with a simple majority of 38 seats. GRS comprises BN which through Umno contributed 14 seats, followed by Perikatan Nasional through Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) with 11 seats; Homeland Solidarity Party (STAR) (6); and backed by Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) with seven seats, with Datuk Hajiji Noor becoming the new Chief Minister. 

A snap poll in Sabah was also called previously in 1986 following civil disturbances and political defections in the aftermath of the 1985 state election where PBS beat the then incumbent BN-Berjaya state government headed by Tun Datu Mustapha Muhammad. 

In response to the disturbances, the state assembly was dissolved by incumbent Chief Minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan and fresh polls were held on May 4 and 5, 1986. The results saw PBS retain all its previous seats and gained nine more state seats from its political rivals including Berjaya and Usno. 

The latest edition will see Melaka going to the polls next month. 

The Election Commission (EC) has set Nov 20 as polling day for the Melaka state election. Nomination day is Nov 8 and early polling will be held on Nov 16. 

On all four occasions when state polls were held, it was done so after a political crisis precipitated in a need for it. 

Both Sabah and Sarawak have in the past held their respective state polls on separate dates to that of the country’s General Election.

By : B. Suresh Ram – NST

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