PM Expected to Dissolve Parliament Friday

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Two ministers believe the Prime Minister will most likely announce the dissolution of Parliament on Friday, paving the way for what is expected to be the toughest ever general election for his long-ruling coalition.

“I think it’s Friday, probably…traditionally we’ll have our manifesto launch after parliament dissolution, so the manifesto is going to be launched this Saturday,” Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan told Reuters.

Also based on the scheduled launching of Barisan’s manifesto as well as the postponement of the weekly Cabinet meeting from Wednesday to Friday, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said: “I am not the prime minister, but if thinking logically, my guess is on Friday.”

The polling date will be announced by the Election Commission (EC) after the dissolution of parliament.

The ruling coalition has been in power for 60 years – since Malaysia emerged from British colonial rule in 1957.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak only narrowly won the last election in 2013 after losing the popular vote to an opposition bloc, now led by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir has emerged as the prime minister’s fiercest critic over his handling of the 1MDB scandal, which Najib has denied wrongdoing.

The general election must be called by June 24, after which Parliament will be dissolved automatically and polls held within 60 days.

The opposition has lamented that two recent moves backed by the government will boost Najib’s chances at the polls.

Last week, Parliament approved a plan to redraw constituency boundaries for more than a third of its seats, changes that critics say will help Najib win the election.

Yesterday, Parliament passed a bill outlawing fake news and punishing offenders with a jail term of up to six years and a fine of up to RM500,000, or both.