Explainer: What happens once Parliament dissolves?


PETALING JAYA: Once Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announces the dissolution of the Parliament, a caretaker government will come into effect.

The Election Commission (EC) then has to spring into action and announce a nomination date and a polling date within 60 days from the date of dissolution.

The campaign period will be the period between the nomination date and the polling date, as announced by the EC.

As for the political parties, they would then have to prepare to nominate their candidates to stand for the general election.

However, there is no provision for a caretaker government in the Malaysian Constitution.

The notion of a caretaker government is essentially a parliamentary or constitutional convention in line with the Westminster parliamentary system.

It is practised in parliamentary democracies where the executive government is formed from the majority political party in the elected house of representatives.

This means the incumbent government will automatically be the caretaker government, unless the caretaker prime minister hands over his reins to another minister to stand in his place as happened in 1959.

(The then prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman announced that he would retire to focus on the election campaign and handed over the reins to his deputy Tun Abdul Razak.)

The civil service, along with all authorities such as the police force, will then continue to function as is and the Chief Secretary would continue as the head of civil service.

However, as Parliament has been dissolved, no new legislation will be passed and no new policies will be signed by any ministers.

All Bills will be put on hold and there will be no sitting of both the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament.

As for the Budget 2023, it will have to be retabled as the new government is not bound by a Budget tabled by the previous government.

The whole process from the first reading will be repeated once the new government has been formed after the elections are over.

In the ministries, there will be no handing over of new contracts or government projects, as everything has to go through Parliament.

Awards and projects which have already been passed before Parliament was dissolved will continue to be carried out and will not be disrupted by the dissolution.

Government promises such as grants for businesses or gadgets for schoolchildren, if these have been passed and signed upon by the ministers, before the dissolution of Parliament, can still be continued to be handed out.

Officiation of events such as the opening of new health clinics by caretaker prime minister or ministers which have been agreed and signed before the dissolution can still be carried out, so as not to disrupt the continued services for the rakyat.

In the civil service, however, everything runs as usual and whatever administrative policies that only need to be signed by the Chief Secretary can be continued.

There will be no stopping of the civil service under the caretaker government.

The caretaker government will function without disruption until the next Prime Minister is appointed according to the Federal Constitution.

Then, it will be the end of the caretaker government and the beginning of a new government.

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