BN leaders meet on Saturday with polls on their mind

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, The Malaysian Insider

The Barisan Nasional (BN) supreme council will meet this Saturday to chart campaign plans as the ruling coalition prepares itself for a possible snap election next year.

Sources within BN told The Malaysian Insider that the coming months are deemed important as party leaders seek to take advantage of problems plaguing Pakatan Rakyat (PR), especially in PKR with the exit of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

Speculation is rife that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will call for a general election by the first half of next year and that the current parliamentary sitting may possibly be the last for the current administration.

“Everything is geared for the next general election,” a source told The Malaysian Insider when asked about the significance of the supreme council meeting.

MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu is expected to exit the party in January while both MCA and Umno will embark on a nationwide tour to meet grassroots leaders and members across the country.

Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia also announced that it will identify its candidates for the next general election after the Chinese New Year in February.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin recently hinted at the possibility of snap polls being called in “a few months” during his winding-up speech at the Umno general assembly.

“I don’t know when the prime minister will call for the next general election, but we all know that there are only a few months left,” he said.

Najib, who is Umno president, also promised to look into appointments for state party chiefs and other posts to ensure members are motivated to keep the party in power.

However, BN is still looking to solve three pressing issues — the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) case, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s second sodomy trial, and Teoh Beng Hock’s mysterious death — before considering a call for snap elections.

The Malaysian Insider understands that BN leaders have privately agreed that these issues, together with the soft economy, need to be addressed before the ruling federal coalition is confident of dissolving Parliament for the country’s 13th general election, which is not due until March 2013.