Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob must choose the right time for the 15th general election because the stakes are high for Barisan Nasional (BN), Najib Razak said.
The former prime minister, who is BN advisory board chairman, told the BN Convention today that he (Najib) had erred in calling the date for the 14th general election in 2018, which saw BN lose federal power for the first time in six decades.
Najib said he had wanted to hold GE14 after the SEA Games then but at the insistence of some who were against the timing, the polls were delayed until the political situation changed.
“But due to the insistence of some, it (the election) has been delayed.
“The prime minister must make the right decision because the stakes are so high.
“This is not about Najib, Zahid, or Ismail Sabri, this is about the future of BN and the country.
“If one is given the authority and trust, one should make the right and wise decision, not think about oneself but about the future of the party and the country.”
Najib and others in BN, particularly the Umno leadership and those who are facing graft trials, have been pushing for GE15 to be held sooner to ride on BN’s strong performance in recent state elections. Observers say early polls could also help them resolve their corruption cases.
The current Parliament term will expire in mid-2023 but the Umno and BN leadership have been pressing Ismail, who is Bera MP, to call GE15 immediately, citing coalition’s wins in the Malacca, Sarawak and Johor elections.
However, dissolving Parliament is the prerogative of the prime minister with the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Najib, speaking at the convention and BN’s 48th anniversary celebration in Kuala Lumpur, said the current climate is favourable for the coalition, because “the opposition is in disarray”.
“Today, the opposition is ‘caca merba’ – PKR only has 12% (members out) of the vote, Pejuang has rejected, Bersatu has only two seats left, PAS (support) has decreased, DAP has also been rejected.
“But BN is strong despite some problems,” Najib said.
During his administration, Najib announced the dissolution of Parliament on April 7, 2018, 78 days before the end of the full GE13 mandate.
In the 2018 polls, BN lost to Pakatan Harapan (PH) and fell from federal power for the first time in 60 years, when it won 74 seats compared to PH which won 121 seats. PAS then won 18 seats.
Ismail in a recent interview with the Japanese press gave the impression that GE15 will not be held in the near future as the country is facing the issue of rising cost of living and food prices.
Najib in his speech, however, said the Umno leadership would be advising Ismail on the best time to hold the national polls. – TMI