Guan Eng: US economic woes could prompt snap polls

By Lisa A Ariffin, The Malaysian Insider

The weak US economy and last week’s downgrade of Malaysia’s credit ratings could prompt the Najib administration to call for snap polls as early as November, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said today.

He said the US debt crisis “will not only have impact on the economy but also the date of the next [general election]”.

“If the impact continues, we will see early elections as early as November because it is very important for the economy,” Lim told a press conference at the party headquarters here today.

“After Bersih, this seems more likely because of a contagion effect,” Lim added.

When asked if he sees any possible recession in Penang economy, the state’s chief minister said “it is too early to tell”.

In 2010, Penang received RM12.2 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), making it the top investment destination in the country.

This year, Penang chalked up an impressive FDI figure of RM2.3 billion in April, the highest among all states.

Following the US credit downgrade by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, a global market sell-off wiped out an estimated RM26 billion from Bursa Malaysia as investors took the cue from the regional meltdown following the rout on Wall Street on Thursday.

Lim said DAP was already preparing for the general election to be held within the year. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has up to 2013 to dissolve Parliament for a general election.

“In fact, we will be having election training today,” Lim said.

Today, Lim also announced the admission of renowned history professor Professor Dr Ariffin Omar into DAP.

Critically-acclaimed for his thesis on Malay concepts of democracy and community,  “Bangsa Melayu”, Ariffin said he chose to join DAP as the party was not race-oriented and represented all races.

“The security of the country is guaranteed if (racial politics is rejected). That is why I choose this party.