However, the automatic dissolution of the Negri Sembilan legislative assembly, the first ever in Malaysian history, provides the clearest sign yet that the dissolution of Parliament will happen soon, although Parliament's term runs until April 28.

Negri Sembilan was the first to convene its state assembly sitting after the March 8, 2008, general election.

As the state had completed its full five-year term yesterday, the state assembly is dissolved automatically, as provided for under the state constitution.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the dissolution meant that the assemblymen were no longer lawmakers.

"Even though the state assembly will no longer have representatives, the former assemblymen will still provide their services," he told a packed news conference at his office yesterday.

With the dissolution of Parliament a foregone conclusion, Najib's immediate task is to finalise the list of 727 Barisan Nasional candidates who will contest the 222 parliamentary and 505 state seats in the election.

The New Straits Times understands that 90 per cent of the BN list is completed, following a fresh series of meetings between Najib, his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, and other party leaders since last week.

MIC secretary-general Datuk S. Murugesan said: "The cycle of meetings will continue until the list is finalised. One can expect new faces this time around."

Opposition-held Selangor, despite having declared its intention to dissolve its state assembly separately, has since backed down.

Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim on Tuesday said the state government would join other Pakatan Rakyat-governed states in dissolving their assemblies by April 22 if the general election was not called by then.

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