Now no one is a member of Parliament
And no one is a so-called ‘incumbent’ MP
• The 12th Parliament has been dissolved. There are now no more members of parliament. Tiada Dewan Rakyat, tiada Ahli Dewan Rakyat.
• There is no such thing as a so-called “incumbent”* member of Parliament. Each Parliament exists only between elections. It lives from the time the King calls it into session, until the King dissolves the Parliament. The 12th parliament is no more. Every member of the 12th parliament is now a former member. He is just an ordinary citizen, as he also was during his term.
PM stays in office by courtesy and convention
• Without a sitting Parliament, the former MP for Pekan (Najib Abdul Razak) remains as Prime Minister, by courtesy and by convention. The constitution says the King appoints a member of parliament as Prime Minister. Since Najib is no longer MP for Pekan, he remains in the job by courtesy of the King.
• He was appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and as the King has not sacked him, he stays in the job.
• Members of the Cabinet are appointed by the Prime Minister. They serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister (he can sack them at any time). They remain in office by courtesy and by convention.
A caretaker govt can only handle routine matters
• When Parliament stands dissolved, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet automatically become a caretaker government. They stay in place to take care of day-to-day business to keep government machinery functioning. There are many routine administrative orders that need a minister’s approval or signature.
• The caretaker government cannot institute new policies or make new laws, since Parliament has been dissolved.
A caretaker govt cannot use govt facilities for party campaigns
• With a caretaker government in place, the Prime Minister and his cabinet can only use government facilities for routine day-to-day business.
• They cannot use goverment facilities for political campaigning (even if Parliament is in session).
• The Prime Minister cannot use the goverment’s executive jets to travel all over the country on party business.
• The same applies when a state assembly is dissolved. Tiada Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN), tiada ADUN.
Will all politicians really respect the rule of law?
*”Incumbent” is a word used mainly in the United States — they have a different political system. Congress is not dissolved during an election. A member of Congress will conduct his election campaign while still a sitting member of Congress. As a sitting member, he is the “incumbent”, i.e. the person still holding the position. That does not apply in Parliamentary systems. When Parliament is dissolved, there is no Parliament. No parliament, no members. Therefore no such thing as an “incumbent” member of Parliament.