Word has it that sometime this week or the next, Prime Minister Najib Razak will announce the dissolution of Parliament to pave the way for the 13th general election to be held probably in mid-April. He is meeting with the King this Wednesday, and on the agenda could be his seeking the latter’s approval to dissolve the House.
If I were a gambling man, I would place a bet on March 26 as being the date of dissolution, but then again, with Najib having shown himself to be an indecisive prime minister, one never knows.
He has been delaying calling the general election for so long that he could still stall it further. But on the other hand, he has in the past week given out bountiful goodies to a large segment of the electorate, i.e. the police, the army and the 1.4-million strong civil service, which could deliver bountiful votes from the grateful recipients to his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. And he has since followed that with granting an extra month’s bonus to Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) employees.
Furthermore, the Lahad Datu crisis seems to have given his government a boost, with a good number of Malaysians rallying behind it in the face of the common Sulu enemy. Notice also that he, his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin and even ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad have been visibly giving their support to the security forces by visiting them at their temporary camp whereas the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat leaders have not made a showing.
To cap it all, one of Pakatan’s leaders, PKR vice-president Tian Chua, has been charged with sedition for saying that the Lahad Datu incursion is linked to Umno, BN’s biggest component party. What better way to garner anti-Pakatan sentiments from “patriotic” quarters?
If Najib should wait any further, it could mean that he’s still not certain of being able to win the much-coveted two-thirds majority in Parliament. This is something he needs for his own job security as Umno president and therefore prime minister. However, it has been pointed out that even if he fails to achieve that but succeeds in winning back Selangor, he might be saved.
I’ve been told that in order to do that, he needs to win back only another 4 per cent of Chinese Selangorian votes. But I would hazard that such a goal will be difficult to attain. The Chinese have been outwardly critical of BN for its decades-long mismanagement of the country and, above all, its deep involvement in corruption. Some among the Chinese in business might consider voting for BN this time out of pragmatism, but the majority who want change will likely stick to their stand.
Even DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang is going for broke deciding to contest in Gelang Patah – in Johor, the bastion of BN. He must know he has some chance of winning because the voters in Gelang Patah are 54 per cent Chinese.
In any case, whatever the outcome of the general election is going to be, it’s about time the public were relieved of their anxiety. Everybody has been eagerly waiting for it for the longest time. Practically every day, someone would ask when the elections will be held, and when it’s not called, people get disappointed. Businessmen and other individuals cannot decide whether to proceed with plans, projects, overseas trips or holidays. Malaysians living overseas who are insistent on coming home to vote instead of opting for postal voting worry if the timing might not suit them.
Meanwhile, what’s worst of all, political tension has been mounting as both sides lobby for the people’s support, spawning ugliness and even violence. Interestingly, the violence is generated mostly by the pro-BN side, which indicates that BN is feeling threatened and, for the first time ever in its decades-old history, even fearing losing the elections.
But as they say, the best-laid plans of mice and men can often go awry. So if Najib is waiting for the perfect time, there may never be one. He might as well grit his teeth now and make the call. Or risk being called “chicken”.
Tag : Politik