Guessing game over GE date continues
To avoid being caught off guard, preparations by various political parties have started.
It is speculated that the Budget, fixed for Oct 28, would be brought forward to accommodate the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat.
He is almost always at the Kuala Selangor parliamentary constituency, where he is said to be contesting, when he is not carrying out official duties.
Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan has gone on his nationwide visits to ensure the machinery is put in place.
But last week, the Prime Minister’s Office told the media that Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob would be travelling to New York from Sept 22 to 25 to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
The decision caught several Cabinet members and officials off guard as the PM would surely not be taking five days off if he was preparing for the GE.
He has also invited several Members of Parliament to accompany him on the trip, an official said.
During a meet with editors last week, for the interview on his first year as PM, he indicated that he wasn’t ready for the GE, saying the littoral combat ship (LCS) issue had now emerged, saying “we don’t know how this issue will affect our chances”.
But in the same breath, he said “the global economic forecast for next year is not encouraging. If this is the situation, would it be a good time for the election to be held next year?’’
If the Budget is to be held earlier, say by the first week of October, it means the notice would have to be served to the Speaker to inform him of the change in plan.
Under the rules, a minimum 28-day notice would be needed and based on this assumption, the notice would need to be sent by Sept 1 or 2.
That means the Dewan Rakyat can be dissolved once the Budget is tabled by the first week, and to pave the way for GE15 to be held by November.
“The impact of the Budget, which will certainly be aimed at the electorate, would be lost if it is not followed immediately by the elections.
“The PM must strike it while it is hot because like it or not, it will be regarded as a preliminary BN manifesto. To put it simply, the message is vote us back and we will put this Budget into a reality,’’ said an analyst.
By December, the monsoon period which often brings floods to many areas of the East Coast would have started and it would not be the best time to hold a GE.
The next option is to dissolve Parliament after the Chinese New Year next year, which begins on Jan 22, 2023.
Christmas, in December this year, and CNY in January would allow the PM to provide better optics for his Keluarga Malaysia concept.
There has been criticism that, so far, the turnout for his various state celebrations involved mainly Malays.
The diversity and inclusivity elements are missing and surely, to make his Keluarga Malaysia idea more meaningful, these must be seen.
Last year, he was missing from the annual Christmas high tea organised by the Christian Federation of Malaysia as he had to rush to flood-hit states.
As with the previous practices, the annual Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations for Form 5 students is scheduled from the end of February to March 2023 and this means almost all schools, usually used as polling stations, would be held up for the exams.
Many schoolteachers are also roped in by the Election Commission to assist in the running of elections.
By March 22, the fasting month begins (and ends on April 21) and then Hari Raya begins, with a month of celebrations.
The window period available for the PM to call for the GE gets tighter as the clock ticks. The term of the present Federal Government ends on July 15, 2023.
One exasperated Barisan leader said ‘’if the PM is worried about LCS, he has a valid reason, but no one can be sure what other issues will crop up next if the dragging continues”.
The PM is certainly keeping his options close to his chest and politicians, who claimed they have been told of “possible months” heard directly from the PM, have ended up being wrong, so far.