MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Najib Razak on Monday dropped his latest hint on the date of the widely- anticipated elections amid widespread speculation by several key ministers that he would dissolve parliament by the end of the week.
“This Wednesdsay, I will meet with civil servants and then launch the BN (Barisan Nasional ruling coalition) manifesto on April 7,” he told a crowd of 5,000 attendees at an event in the east coast district of Bera, Pahang. “This means (the election) is near.”
On Sunday, Abdul Rahman Dahlan, a minister in the Prime Minister’s department said the country’s Dewan Rakyat (lower house of parliament) might be dissolved before Najib the manifesto this Sunday.
“Chances are, based on our previous experiences, the launch of the Barisan manifesto will be held after the dissolution of Parliament. That is the tradition,” Abdul Rahman said, as quoted by The Star (via Bernama). “(But) I am not sure if Datuk Seri Najib (Razak) will use the same method.”
Abdul Rahman, who is also BN’s Strategic Communications Director, said the manifesto is expected to be launched several days after the Dewan Rakyat convenes its final parliamentary sitting on April 5.
The election date remains a closely guarded secret for Najib who holds the cards to call for the polls duebefore August this year. However, Nazri Aziz, the country’s Tourism and Culture Minister, predicts that parliament would be dissolved after the Cabinet meeting this Friday, according to Free Malaysia Today.
Like Abdul Rahman, Nazri pointed out that the final day of parliament will be this Thursday and the Cabinet meeting on Friday is expected to be the final gathering for the term.
Nazri said the prediction was based on the Dewan Rakyat’s approval of the redelianation of electoral boundary exercise last week.
The New Straits Times, a government’s mouthpiece, indicated that the signs of May polls are “quite clear”. After Najib moves to dissolve parliament and state assemblies upon the consent of the nation’s monarch, the country has 60 days to hold the elections.
Usually, elections were held within 29 days of dissolution, meaning the next polls would likely be held in the first week of May. The results are expected to be made known several hours after voting ends. Currently, some 14.8 million people were eligible to vote.
The Opposition and civil society groups have pressured Najib to step down over graft allegations regarding the 1Malaysia Development Berhad state investment firm, the subject of probes in at least six countries, including the US. Despite the allegations, political pundits said he is expected to breeze through the polls in the next election, which would extend his rule for a third five-year term.
Political analyst Associate Professor Dr Azmi Hassan Universiti Teknologi Malaysia was quoted as saying that April 4 could be the date Najib dissolved Parliament, as it would happen a day after his ninth anniversary as prime minister.
With the Dewan Rakyat’s approval of the redelineation of electoral boundaries, Azmi said the government did not have any immediate issues to be resolved, adding and the economy is on solid footing.
“The redelineation of borders is the indicator of when the date (of Parliament’s dissolution) will be.
“With the Election Commission ready, the announcement of candidates could be held a week after Parliament is dissolved. We could even see a minimum campaign period of 11 days.”