BN to win, Ismail likely to be PM again, says Economist research unit

(FMT) – A research and analysis division of the Economist Group in the UK has predicted that Barisan Nasional (BN) will emerge victorious in the general election, but it remains to be seen if Ismail Sabri Yaakob would serve a full term as prime minister.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said while BN would form a government, it would not win enough seats for a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat.

“EIU expects Ismail to be re-appointed prime minister. However, his ability to serve a full five-year term is far from assured,” EIU principal economist Fung Siu said in a statement today.

Fung said Ismail would be asked to step down in favour of Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi if charges against Zahid were dropped.

The BN chairman and Umno president is standing trial on 47 counts of money laundering and criminal breach of trust involving millions of ringgit from Yayasan Akalbudi and accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as home minister.

His trial is set to resume in January.

Fung also said the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 under the Undi18 initiative was unlikely to change the broad voting patterns of the electorate, adding that voters would revert to race-based preferences.

“This is likely to usher in another coalition government comprising BN and smaller divergent parties,” she said.

The Undi18 initiative, together with automatic voter registration, adds an estimated 6.23 million new voters for GE15.