KUALA LUMPUR— The circulation of a letter from a Selangor school informing parents that its staff will have to attend a briefing session by the Elections Commission (EC) starting next Monday has refuelled speculation the 14th general election will be held very soon.
The letter, issued by the headmaster’s office of Sekolah Rendah Agama Pandamaran Jaya and dated July 12, indicated to parents that the school had been selected as a polling centre and the teachers and staff are required to attend the training sessions on Monday and Tuesday.
A clerk from the school confirmed with Malay Mail Online that the training programme for staff will take place as stated in the letter.
“It is true. We have been selected as a polling centre so all the teachers and staff have to attend the briefing,” the clerk, who gave his name as Mr Din, said when contacted today.
To facilitate the EC briefing, the school administration will call off classes for primary schoolers in Standards Four, Five and Six on July 17 while students in Standards One, Two and Three will have no classes the following day.
Classes will resume as normal on Wednesday, the letter indicated.
According to Mr Din, the EC will also begin its training sessions for other nearby schools that have been selected as polling centres.
“It’s not just us. We have been told that they will hold the briefing for other schools in the area as well,” he said.
Malay Mail Online could not independently verify the information.
If true, the training session will be the clearest signal to date that the Najib administration may be calling for elections soon although the ruling Barisan Nasional government’s mandate only expires next year.
Speculation is that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak may want to ride on the positive economic outlook so far with the ringgit on the rebound, and dissolve Parliament in the third quarter of this year.
Klang MP from DAP Charles Santiago, commenting on the letter, said the EC training sessions was expected since the 13th Parliament term will expire in the second quarter of 2018.
“I think it’s a normal procedure because we are already in the fourth year so the EC will begin to start the training process of teachers and local council staffs of what they’ll need to do,” Charles told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Deputy Education Minister Chong Sin Woon when contacted did not state if his ministry was aware that the EC was to begin its training sessions in schools this soon.
However, the MCA senator did clarify that state religious schools may only call off classes for the briefing if they have permission from the state Education Department.
“Teachers can attend briefing but school cannot ask students to take leave and stay home.
“They must get approval from their superior who is the director of the state Education Department,” he told Malay Mail Online.