KUALA LUMPUR: Over the weekend, the Malaysian political scene was a hive of activity as several key parties and coalitions huddled to firm up their plans for the upcoming general election.
This came after the government said last Friday (Aug 26) that it will bring forward the tabling of the 2023 budget to Oct 7, fuelling talk that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob might dissolve parliament soon.
The 15th general election is not due until September next year, but the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), a main component party in the ruling coalition, has intensified its calls for the dissolution of parliament. This is a move that would pave the way for the next general election.
On Saturday, UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi held a special briefing for party grassroots and again pressed the prime minister to hold snap polls.
“We have been consistent in calling for the elections to be held because we want a government built on the people’s mandate, rather than by political machinations … We are firm on our stance that the general election must be held immediately,” he said.
Mr Ismail Sabri and some UMNO Cabinet ministers such as Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa as well as Federal Territories Minister Shahidan Kassim were notably absent from the briefing.
At Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) convention, which was also held on Saturday, the coalition’s chairman Muhyiddin Yassin said that it was possible that the election would be announced immediately after this year’s budget is tabled on Oct 7. “We are ready to face the general election at any time,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Mr Anwar Ibrahim, the president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), said at his party’s election convention: “We will be fully ready by October (to face GE15) because Budget 2023 will be tabled in October. As we know, that means elections will be called soon.”
On Sunday, Mr Ismail Sabri would only say “Tunggu, tunggu, tunggu (wait, wait, wait)” when asked if parliament would be dissolved so that snap polls can be held, according to a report by the Star.
Analysts interviewed by CNA said that the signs point to polls being called later this year.