GE15 to be held soon, say analysts after MoU with PH not extended

(FMT) – Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s decision not to extend the political pact with Pakatan Harapan (PH) is an indication that the 15th general election will be held soon, says a political analyst.

While the memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed in September last year, did not have an expiry date, the government and PH agreed not to hold GE15 before July 31.

Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said Ismail’s decision would greatly benefit Umno and the prime minister.

“Ismail can dissolve Parliament whenever he feels it is the best time for the party,” he told FMT.

Azmi said that by not extending the MoU, Ismail is also declaring that he is an Umno man and that the party comes first.

Ismail is an Umno vice-president.

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said Ismail could no longer withstand the pressure from Umno for the nationwide polls to be held soonest.

“Without PH’s support, and with Perikatan Nasional’s support getting somewhat shakier by the day, Ismail would not be able to withstand the relentless offensive by his own party,” he said.

Yesterday, Ismail said Umno had decided against extending the MoU and, as such, he would abide by his party’s decision.

He also said he had met with opposition leaders and assured them that with or without the MoU, the federal government would continue to cooperate on matters that both the government and opposition had agreed on.

Ismail and PH leaders signed the MoU agreeing to work together to help bolster economic recovery and restore political stability while the government managed the Covid-19 pandemic.