The Sultan of Terengganu can dissolve the state assembly if he cannot decide on who is best to be the menteri besar should there be a stalemate, says an expert on the constitution, Abdul Aziz Bari..

In a hung parliament, assed Aziz, a former professor lof law, the appointment of the menteri besar will be decided by the sultan, who may use his judgment.

NONEAziz (left) said going by the provision of the state constitution, which is similar to the corresponding article under the federal constitution, the ruler of a state has the discretion in picking the head of government in that state.

He noted that in Terengganu, as with elsewhere in Malaysia and in the Commonwealth countries, the sultan can appoint a person who, in his personal judgment, has the most support in the House.

"Of course, in the normal circumstances, this is determined by the number of seats that particular state assembly has, as it is simple mathematics. However, a hung legislature has to be decided by the sultan, who I think may use his subjective judgment.

azlan"If the sultan is unsure, then I think he could dissolve the House so that a fresh election could be held. This is to allow the people, instead of he himself, to decide. 

"From the point of the monarchy as the symbolof unity om the state and who must stand above party politics, that is perhaps the more advisable option," Aziz told Malaysiakini.

He said this when asked to comment on the possibility of a hung state assembly in Terengganu, should PAS win the Kuala Besut by-election.

Terengganu has an even number of 32 state seats - of which the BN won 17 in last month's general election, and PAS, 15.

Following the vacancy as a result of Dr A Rahman Mokhtar's  death earlier this week, the state is placed in a precarious position of having a hung assembly should PAS win Kuala Besut in the by-election, which has to be called by Aug 27.

Although signs point that the opposition will face difficulty in winning Kuala Besut - which is seen as a BN and Umno stronghold - there could be a sudden change, as what happened in 1999 when PAS won Kuala Besut and most of the state seats to form the state government there.

'Dissolution best to avoid mistake'

Abdul Aziz said the federal constitution and the state constitution allows the ruler to dissolve the House without a request from the sitting government.

NONE"I think this provision is there to take care of situations such as the one during a hung parliament.

"Although the constitution says the appointment is discretionary on the part of the sultan, this option has its own risk, on the possibility that he may make a mistake and be accused of being biased, partisan and the likes.

"Dissolving the House will save the sultan from those eventualities and the image of the monarchy - as the state figure - would be protected," said the former academician.

Several newspapers, since yesterday and today, have focused on the discretion of the sultan should such a situation arise.-malaysiakini