Malaysia could see election “in 6 months”

Najib Razak

(Bikyamasr) — According to news reports published on Wednesday, Malaysia could have elections within 6 months, despite Prime Minister Najib Razak allaying hints that snap polls could be called in the country.

According to news reports circulating in the country, there are suggestions that polls could be held in September, shortly after National Day.

Most observers have predicted that Malaysia’s next general election will be held in June, but several issues remain unresolved, The Star reported.

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. Razak, the president of UMNO and BN chairman, also has a busy travelling schedule over the next month.

He begins a two-day visit to Myanmar today before traveling to China for two days starting Saturday, during which he will meet with his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao.

Sources report that Razak 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 others, Razak 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, Razak will then have to wait until after the fasting month of Ramadan, which runs from July 20 to Aug 18 to call for polls.

And, as one analyst points out, Razak and the BN could benefit from the feel-good factor of post-Ramadan Hari Raya festivities and Malaysia’s National Day celebrations on Aug 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 Sept 24 until Nov 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.”