PETALING JAYA: The next general election will not be held in November following the tabling of Budget 2018 by Prime Minister Najib Razak in the Dewan Rakyat, and it has nothing to do with any negative economic sentiment.
This was the opinion of Universiti Malaya lecturer Awang Azman Pawi, who said it would simply be too soon after the Oct 27 budget announcement for Najib to make such a move, as many have speculated.
“Some are of the view that there would be an announcement of at least a month’s bonus for civil servants. Numerous development projects for 2018 will also be announced in order to attract more voters.
“However, this view is not very accurate, as the budget still needs to be debated before being passed by the MPs. The next sitting of the Dewan Rakyat will be from Oct 23 to Nov 30.

“Dewan Negara, on the other hand, will only start from Nov 4 to Dec 19. Based on this, it is impossible for GE14 to be held in October, let alone November and December,” he told FMT.
Awang Azman was asked to comment on PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli’s statement that Najib would not likely call for elections this year owing to unfavourable economic sentiments on the ground.
The Pandan MP had arrived at the conclusion following an interactive phone survey carried out by PKR-linked Invoke Malaysia which found over 60% of the 3,783 registered voters polled expressing that the country’s economy was on the wrong track.

Awang Azman said the present economic sentiment was most definitely unfavourable to BN, but pointed out that this factor would be the opposition’s “biggest capital” regardless of when GE14 is called.
In explaining further on why GE14 could not be called in November, Awang said the last two months of the year are school holidays, and many Malaysians would be vacationing, whether locally or abroad.
He also said the two months were associated with monsoon and flooding, which would then discourage the government from holding any polls at the time.
Besides that, Awang Azman believes the arrest of Felda chairman Isa Samad over the purchase of a hotel in London by Felda Investment Corporation in 2014, is a big slap for BN.
“All this while Isa had been perceived as an untouchable Umno warlord. But this arrest gives the perception of leakages in Felda.
“So, it wouldn’t be good for BN if the general election was to be held any time this year,” he said.
Having said that, Awang Azman did note however, that former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had gone against normal convention and dissolved Parliament in 1999 shortly after the budget was tabled, resulting in the general election taking place in November.
“It is quite rare for the general election to be held in November,” he said, adding the 1999 general election results however proved Mahathir right, as BN narrowly maintained its two-third majority despite losing many seats in Malay majority constituencies.

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