Are the Parties ready?

KUALA LUMPUR – Political observers have, following the conclusion of the Johor state election, been engaged in a guessing game over the next step. Will there be another state polls or will the nation go straight into the 15th General Election (GE15) this year?

According to talk in Putrajaya, some leaders in the government are looking at August, about three weeks after Hari Raya Aidiladha, if not September, to hold GE15.

However, some sources said there are efforts to delay the election, as well as the Anti-Party Hopping Bill, so that Malaysians could go to polling stations next year when the Covid-19 situation is expected to be under control.

An insider said holding GE15 next year would give the government time to fine-tune the draft of the Anti-Party Hopping Bill, which has been described as unfair since it would give significant power to party presidents.

“According to the draft, when party presidents expel a member, it will be considered party-hopping.

“Maybe the current party presidents would support this bill but definitely not other politicians, because they are at risk of being sacked and declared party-hoppers. Who would want that?”

Despite the efforts to delay GE15, analysts believed that the country would go to the polls at the latest by the fourth quarter of this year. They said it may be the only way to regain stability.

Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Azmi Hassan said given the political uncertainties in the past two years, the people are eagerly waiting for GE15 to voice their displeasure.

Although the people might be ready, Azmi pointed out that the same can’t be said about opposition coalitions Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN), as well as other parties such as Parti Warisan Negara and Parti Pejuang Tanah Air.

He said their inability to unite as a strong opposition bloc would only lead to Barisan Nasional’s victory in GE15, just like how the pact scored big in several state elections.

“BN is excited about holding GE15 due to its recent successes, but the opposition parties are not ready for a general election. They need to come together to win.

“The perception now is that BN is the party to beat and the opposition must cooperate so that they won’t go against each other. But this is not happening at the moment.

“The Melaka and Johor state elections show that if the scenario remains the same, that is, opposition parties continue to be disunited, the advantage will be with BN.”

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said the opposition needed more time to resolve internal leadership issues and form stronger cooperation.

“Whether we are ready or not, GE15 could be the only solution right now to stop all the uncertainties and political instability. The everyday routine of the people already includes politics in their lives.

“BN is pushing for an early GE15 and PH is asking not to have it now. That shows who’s ready.

“The recent state elections’ results show that the opposition needs more time to solve internal working collaborations and leadership issues. These had contributed to BN’s overwhelming victories.

“Low voter turnout is expected to continue and this will give an added advantage to BN.”

Azmi believed that the opposition was missing the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad factor, referring to the former prime minister who led PH to victory in 2018.

Azmi said the opposition would have a better chance of repeating its GE14 feat if all the parties could agree on having one leader to bring them together.

“The opposition parties like PH, PN, Pejuang, Warisan and the others do see BN as their common enemy, but they can’t come together because they can’t agree on having one leader like what they did with Dr Mahathir in 2018.

“If this leader cannot be identified or accepted by all parties in the opposition before GE15, then BN will win the election.”


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