Najib admits the delayed GE14 resulted in BN losing the elections

(FMT) – Former prime minister Najib Razak has reflected on the potential risks of delaying the next general election (GE15), warning that it could lead to another loss for Barisan Nasional at the polls.

“When is the election (GE15)? I don’t know. But I want to share for the first time … I want to admit … We should have had GE14 after the (2017) SEA Games,” he told the Barisan Nasional Convention today at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur.

“If we did, maybe we would have won big. But because of pressure from various parties, we delayed it. And then conditions changed.”

The 2017 SEA Games which the country hosted ended in August 2017, with GE14 held in May 2018.

He then highlighted how the opposition is now “in a state of disarray”, pointing towards the low turnout at PKR’s recent party polls, Bersatu having only two assemblymen in the Johor state assembly, and DAP and PAS supposedly facing diminished support.

“BN, on the other hand, is getting stronger,” he said.

The Barisan Nasional adviser also commented on a recent interview with Japan’s Nikkei Asia in which Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that GE15 – which only needs to be called by September 2023 – would have to be pushed back due to rising cost of living and inflation.

Stating that inflationary cycles are known to run for “two to three years”, Najib called on Umno’s top leadership – which includes Ismail – to discuss the matter and “make the right choice”.

In the Nikkei Asia interview conducted during his trip to Japan last week, Ismail said “we will have to wait for the right time (to call for elections)”.

“We are facing a period of increasing inflation … Do you think this is the right time?” he told the Japanese financial paper.

There are factions in Umno pushing for an early general election in light of the party’s commanding wins in the recent Melaka and Johor state elections.

However, other Umno leaders are against the push for early polls as they believe the present administration – which has 10 ministers and 10 deputy ministers – is still stable.

Stressing that leaders should put their personal interests aside if Barisan Nasional wins Putrajaya at GE15, Najib said the “stakes are too high” for the coalition, which ruled the country for more than six decades before being ousted at GE14.

“This is not a question about Najib or Zahid (Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) or Ismail. This is about BN and our country,” said Najib.

“If we are trusted with power, we have to make the right choices. Don’t think about ourselves but about the party and the country. If we do, I am confident BN will be back in power.”