Despite Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak dropping hints over the weekend that snap polls could be called soon, a report yesterday has made a convincing argument that Malaysia’s next general election will be held in September, shortly after the country’s National Day.
Most observers have predicted that Malaysia’s next general election will be held in June, but several issues remain unresolved, The Star reports.
According to sources within the Barisan Nasional (BN), the coalition’s component parties are still busy resolving seat-swapping issues, much less finalising its list of candidates. Najib, the president of UMNO and BN chair, also has a busy travelling schedule over the next month.
He begins a two-day visit to Myanmar today before travelling to China for two days starting Saturday, during which he will meet with his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao.
BN sources say Najib is then scheduled to visit the United States in mid-May. During his five-day trip there, he is expected to meet officials of the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council in New York, which he launched last April to help transform Malaysia into a high-income economy.
According to sources, Najib, 58, may take a short break with his family after his US trip. Assuming the BN does not have its candidate list sorted out in time for a June election, Najib will have to wait until after the fasting month of Ramadan, which runs from July 20 to August 18 to call for polls.
And, as one analyst points out, Najib and the BN could benefit from the feel-good factor of post-Ramadan Hari Raya festivities and Malaysia’s National Day celebrations on August 31.
“The whole of August will be taken up by the Hari Raya celebrations and the run-up to the National Day,” he said.
The first week of September makes good sense to capitalise on National Day patriotism while another analyst pointed out that the Haj season begins in late September and ends the following month.
“Then, there is the Parliament session from September 24 until November 27, where the Budget needs to be tabled,” he said. “Once it is tabled, it has to be approved by the Parliament, which means it (the Budget session) will drag on until next year.”
But when asked about the possibility of polls in September, a BN source replied sceptically: “We do not know whether this is a red herring to the press as preparations for the polls are already in full steam.”
Several MPs interviewed by other media also expressed their scepticism. Perkasa founder and Pasir Mas MP Ibrahim Ali said The Star report is just “their opinion”. “I just can’t see the rationale in it,” he told Malaysian Digest.