The state Barisan Nasional (BN) is ready to face the possibility of an early parliamentary election.
According to state BN secretary-general Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi, its election machinery is still active.
“In fact, the machinery emerges even stronger than ever after the May 7 election, where Sarawak BN won 72 out of the total 82 state seats.
“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, as the federal BN chairman, has the prerogative to decide when the (general) election will be held. But if the polls were to be held earlier than scheduled, then our (BN) machinery in Sarawak would be ready for it,” he said when contacted yesterday.
The last parliamentary election was held on May 5, 2013. The tenure of all 222 MPs will end in 2018.
However, speculations are rife about the possibility of the 14th general election to be called as early as March next year, as the prime minister and the ruling BN coalition strive to seek a stronger mandate.
Several Umno division leaders were quoted by Bloomberg as having said that March could be a possible date for the election, since the opposition pact is said to have been weakened due to several factors.
In the last general election, BN won 133 seats out of 222, while the opposition pact – then known as Pakatan Rakyat – took 89 seats, despite securing 50.87 per cent of the popular votes.
In Sarawak, BN won 25 out of 31 parliamentary seats. State elections in other states are usually held simultaneously with the parliamentary elections, except in Sarawak.
On the other hand, political observer Dato Peter Minos believed that no snap election would be called. However, such speculation was more of a wake-up call for Umno members to take the opposition more seriously.
He said Umno – BN’s backbone party in the peninsula – would be looking for the best time to face the challenge by the newly-registered Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia headed by former Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and supported by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“In my opinion, the indications pointing to possible early polls are just reminders for (Umno) party members to not be complacent,” Minos said.
Samuel Aubrey, firstname.lastname@example.org