Despite this being the first time that the concept of a 'caretaker government' has arised in Malaysian politics, the rules are clear with regards to the limits of what a caretaker government can or cannot do.
Observers have noted that the turn of events is fascinating as there is no precedence for such an occurrence. The Malaysian Constitution, for one, does not contain any provisions for the concept of a caretaker government, as it is generally a parliamentary practice or convention.
It is used in parliamentary democracies where the government is formed from the majority political party in the elected House of Representatives.
The third instance is where the incumbent government has been defeated on a confidence vote in parliament, and is allowed to remain in office until it is dissolved and a general election takes place.
Experts believe that guidelines should restrict a caretaker government from:
1. Making new policies which binds a future government;
2. Making new expenditure commitments other than of a routine kind;
3. Making public appointments which could bind a future government; and
4. Entering into significant government contracts.
"The government will no longer have the legislative power to approve budgets, implement new policies or make fresh appointments of staff as it is not a government mandated by the people," Negri Sembilan Election Commission director Afizam Abdullah Sani told the New Straits Times earlier this week, adding that a caretaker government would only be running basic day-to-day operations.
There is a maximum period of 60 days for the caretaker government to run following automatic dissolution, and it is not a norm for one to run a state for too long for fear it would affect the people's welfare.