Malaysia, comprising the three member States - Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak - was under British rule.
As a result, the country, Malaysia, inherited British parliamentary tradition and the common laws.
Thus, like his counterpart in London, the Prime Minister of Malaysia as the majority leader in Parliament has the power to call for the general election at any time within the 5-year period of the life of Parliament.
Unlike the United States' tradition, there is no fixed date for the Prime Minister in calling for the election.
The American presidential system is a fixed time and date after four years in office. Thus.
In the American experience, political parties and elected representatives know exactly what date the President would go to the poll again (and limited for two terms only) and every Congressmen and Senators also know the exact date and time for them to go to the people again for election.
The calling for the general election in the British or Malaysian tradition has become a "guessing game" as the Prime Minister would keep the date of the election very close to his heart. He and a close inner circle member of the ruling Ministers are the only ones who know when the Prime Minister would call the general election.
This power of calling for the general election is actually a two-edged sword for the Prime Minister.
On the one hand, he has all the power and hence the knowledge when he could call for the election to "suit his convenience". On the other hand, he could also make a bad decision on the matter thus causing a deleterious effect on his party and the capacity to rule the country once more. A miscalculation as the best time to call the election could cause him and his political party the right to continue to rule the country.
In Britain, the last general election called by the incumbent Prime Minister, Gordon Brown is considered "unfortunate" and a "miscalculation" of the peoples' mood on Brown's part. Had he called for the election immediately upon taking over from his predecessor, Tony Blair, when the Labour Party was considered in a commanding lead in the opinion polls , he and his political party could have continued to have the people's mandate to rule the country. It is said that the Conservative Party led by Cameron lagged far behind the Labour in popularity at the time when Brown took over the mantle of leadership in Parliament.
But he waited too long and the result was that he lost the lead in the opinion polls and hence the election to the Conservative Party and its allies.
Here in Malaysia, we are very fortunate that since Independence from the British in 1957 for Malaya, the Founding Fathers led by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, had decided to share the burden in the governance of the country by all three major races in the nation, viz,Malay (Umno) Chinese (MCA) and Indian (Indian Congress). The popularity of the coalition government named the Grand Alliance Party was unsurpassed so much so that the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman could truly "boast" that he was the "happiest Prime Minister in the World". But then things started to sour for the Grand Alliance Party which was now joined by other political parties in the Peninsula as well as from Sabah and Sarawak.
The two latter countries joined in the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in August 1963.
In the general Parliamentary election of 1969, the Grand Alliance of the Founding Fathers in West Malaysia lost its two thirds majority in Parliament. The opposition parties started to flex their muscles and tried to "show off", thus provoking the anger of the Umno youths.
The inevitable racial clashes took place and the number of deaths during this racial riot of what is now called the "May 13th racial debacle was in the hundreds.
This was the first time that the people of this country were "disunited", but then common sense prevailed and a new coalition party government took over since 1972 known as the Barisan Nasional, with Tun Razak bin Dato Hussein as the leader of the coalition government. Since then, with Umno as the main pillars for the strength of the Barisan Nasional coalition government, the governance of the nation continued to be shared by all the communities of the country. Peace and prosperity have prevailed.
However, in the general Parliamentary election of 2008, held soon after Tun Ahmad Badawi took over from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad who had retired, a major set back was experienced by the BN coalition parties.
The BN coalition parties lost its two thirds majority in Parliament, and nearly lost the governance of the country too if not for Sabah and Sarawak . Both States had solid support from the people and together they helped "propped up" the BN coalition government in Parliament.
The lost of the two thirds majority in Parliament after the election in 2008 would be the second time when the country lost its over all majority in Parliament. Five States in West Malaysia were also lost to the opposition parties.
The coming general election is the 13th general election in the nation.
The life of Parliament is due to end in March 2013, but the Prime Minister. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to announce the date for the general election. Some believe that this would be in June this year.
But this is the Prime Minister's prerogative and so far he has kept the date for the election closely to himself. For the Parliamentary elections, Malaysia as a whole experienced only two set backs- in 1969 and in 2008.
On both period of time, there was an economic downturn in the world's economy and Malaysia was affected by it. There was a sense of economic loss and pessimism amongst the people.
But today, Malaysia's economic performance is of the highest level and there is a general mood of confidence amongst the people in the performance of the present Prime Minister.
Sabah presently too has a high degree of confidence in the performance of the present Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman. His record as the head of the Executive in the State is highly commendable, especially in the handling of the financial affairs of the State.
There is a mood of high optimism amongst the people, and a sense of pride as Sabahan and Malaysian.
There is, however, a lingering feeling of superstition amongst some people in Sabah over the number 13.
When this number appears or the combination of, during an election year, they claim, there is disaster for the ruling government. In the 1967 State election, the Upko party of Tun Stephens lost to the Usno and SCA coalition ( Alliance).
The Sabah Alliance Party formed with Upko, Usno and SCA was truncated when Usno and SCA combined to defeat Upko at the election.
Upko was excluded in the ensuing government that was formed, Upko left the Sabah Alliance and eventually dissolved itself as a party.
There is the number 13 when the last two figures, 6 and 7 are added together.
Again in the 1976 State election, there is the element of 13 with the combination of 7 and 6.
Usno lost to the incoming party, Berjaya, in this election. It must be mentioned that Usno leaders were mistakenly encouraged to call for the State election in 1976 (when they could have waited until 1977) because of the results of three elections in three constituencies, one of which was Labuan.
The Usno party won in all these three "trial" elections thus encouraging Tan Sri Syed Kechik, the king-pin at the time who decided on nearly all matters for Usno to advise Tun Mustapha to call for a snap election in 1976. He must have known that Federal leaders, especially Umno leaders, were strongly behind the formation of the new Party, Berjaya.
In the ensuing results, the Berjaya party won all the Kadazandusun Murut seats (20) and all the Chinese seats of 8. Usno retained all the 20 Muslim seats. The Berjaya party then was predominantly supported by KDM and Chinese. But this situation changed in the 1981 election when the Berjaya party government was returned with an overwhelming majority.
The Usno party, without Mustapha that year was practically wiped out.
The election in 1985 (again an element of 13 - 8 plus 5) saw the defeat of the Berjaya party and the rise of the new party, PBS led by Tan Sri Joseph Pairin.
In the State election of 1994, the PBS won again, but with a razor thin majority in the Assembly.
Three of its Assemblymen, two elected and one Appointed decided to ditch PBS to join Umno.
Since then the Umno party has led the coalition BN government. Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman took over the leadership of Umno and hence the Chief Minister post since 2003.
He received overwhelming support from the people from the 2003 election and the 2008 election.
He is presently poised to lead the Umno-BN coalition for the coming election - which as some superstitious people are saying has the element of 13 - viz, the 13th general election for the whole nation.
The life of Parliament and State Assembly do not end until March 2013.
Constitutionally, Sabah as a State does not have to follow the Federal parliamentary election.
The Sabah Chief Minister, as the leader who has the majority support in the State Assembly, can co-opt not to call for the State election until next year. But the decision whether to dissolve the Assembly might not be his.
Meanwhile, the PKR leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was quoted in the newspapers that the State government of Selangor would not dissolve the Council (Assembly) when the Parliamentary election is called by the Prime Minister. He cited many reasons why PKR is taking this decision.
By: Tan Sri Herman Luping
“Despite strong evidence presented, the EC has failed to act appropriately and has instead given strange and unreasonable excuses.
the issue would not have cropped up had the EC shown it was independent and capable of cleaning up the electoral roll,
Faekah Hussin, the political secretary to Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim
“Walaupun telah banyak bukti yang dikemukakan namun SPR masih gagal bertindak sewajarnya sebaliknya memberikan alasan yang pelik dan tidak munasabah.
“Mereka harus sedar tindakan mengadakan pilihan raya berasingan adalah akibat dari kegagalan SPR membersihkan dan mengambil langkah berkesan sebagaimana unjuran Bersih 2.0.
Setiausaha Politik menteri besar, Faekah Hussin