Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob today announced the dissolution of Parliament, paving the way for an early general election in a move opposed by a number of his own Cabinet members.
He said he had had an audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah at noon yesterday to present his request for the dissolution of Parliament.
"In accordance with Article 40(2)(b) and Article 55(2) of the Federal Constitution, His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong acted according to His Majesty's discretion by granting my request, that the 14th Parliament be dissolved today, Oct 10, 2022," he said.
"I recommend that the heads of state governments except Sabah, Sarawak, Melaka and Johor, to take appropriate action to dissolve their respective legislative assemblies on the same date as the parliamentary general election, although some states have decided not to dissolve their state assemblies," he added.
"This should be carried out simultaneously to ensure that the people are not burdened, in addition to ensuring the smoothness of the democratic process and to save costs."
He added that the determination of dates for the nomination of candidates, election day and other related matters would be subject to the decision of the Election Commission.
Ismail's announcement ended more than two years of talk on the holding of polls, during which time the country experienced a change of governments and prime ministers at an unprecedented pace.
An election must be held within 60 days of Parliament's dissolution.
Since the last general election in 2018 which saw the historic fall of Umno as the ruling power, Malaysia has seen three prime ministers, none of whom served more than two years amid the economic and political challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
During that period, four state elections were also held, although political analysts are still unable to predict any fixed pattern from some seven million Malaysians automatically registered as new voters.
The call for an early election, ahead of Parliament's expiry of term next year, had been heavily championed by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and a number of party leaders.
Six state governments under Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional, however, had opposed any move for an early election, saying they would not dissolve their state assemblies until next year, in a break from the tradition of simultaneous polls at the federal and state levels.
They are Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu. Meanwhile, four states held their elections in the past year.