Cabinet ministers divided over GE15 date

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Cabinet members are reportedly divided over a proposal to hold the 15th general election (GE15) this year.

The timing of the election was on the agenda at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, with Utusan Malaysia reporting that while the Umno ministers wanted GE15 to be held immediately, the proposal was shot down by other ministers, especially those from Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Bersatu and PAS ministers were reportedly against holding the national polls this year as they want the government to focus on the economy and flood disaster management.

It was also reported that some ministers did not agree for Parliament to be dissolved before Budget 2023 is presented on Oct 7 – some three weeks ahead of schedule.

The ministers who rejected the proposal for GE15 to be held this year also did not agree with the Dewan Rakyat being dissolved before Budget 2023 was approved.

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The Cabinet consists of ministers from Umno (11), Bersatu (nine), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (four), PAS (three), MCA (one), MIC (one), Parti Bersatu Sabah (one) and Parti Bangsa Malaysia (one).

Meanwhile, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the people must brace for the possibility of going to the polls during the rainy season.

He said while it was not the government’s intention to organise the 15th general election during floods, preparations must nevertheless be made for the possibility.

When asked about what would happen should the voters have to go to polling stations during a massive flood, Wee said the country must be ready to face any eventuality.

“As humans, we can make all the necessary efforts but only God gets to decide. Once parliament is dissolved and the polling date is fixed, we have to face any possibility because this is part of our constitution.

“I want to stress here that we are not planning for polling day to coincide with the floods. We are not purposely doing this. All I am saying is that we have to be ready.

“Besides, we have held elections during the pandemic and so all political parties must get ready from now.

Faihan Ghani/The Star

“Whatever the challenges are, we must face them. To be prepared, let’s just assume that the general election may be held at any time,” he told a press conference today.

Earlier, Wee confirmed that preparations for the country to face the 15th general election (GE15) were discussed at length during yesterday’s cabinet meeting.

Since the weather forecast is predicting nationwide floods at the end of this year, Wee said the government had decided to focus on flood preparations to ease the public’s predicaments when it happened.

“I can confirm that during the cabinet meeting yesterday, we discussed at length about the preparations for the general election.

“At the same time, we also discussed about flood preparations because the weather forecast shows that there is a possibility that we will be facing a big flood.

“Therefore, we must make early preparations and I was made to understand that 6,010 temporary relief centres have been gazetted and this is for the (flood) preparations.”