Zahid: BN ready for GE15 now

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Barisan Nasional (BN) is ready to face the 15th general election (GE15), said chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said this at the BN Convention today after Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said earlier he would dissolve Parliament only when BN is ready to face the polls.

“Prime minister, we are ready to face GE15,” said Zahid, who is also Umno president, at the convention in Kuala Lumpur today.

To show BN’s support for holding elections now, Zahid then asked the 5,000 delegates present to stand if they agreed with him. His call received a resounding response from delegates present in the hall at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur.

Zahid, however, assured that he would discuss the dates for GE15 with Ismail.

“Although some want to know for sure when the election will be held, let me and the prime minister discuss to determine the best time for us to face GE15.”

FMT

The Bagan Datuk MP urged the BN machinery to make preparations for the next general election.

He said it has been four years since GE14 and as the next election could be held at any time, BN cannot be complacent.

“All preparations for the GE should have reached the highest level and all BN components should be more involved in preparing for the election.”

Zahid today outlined other principles for BN’s preparations.

He said anyone who wants to work with BN must accept the coalition’s principles, such as inclusivity and moderation.

The chairman said BN must also be ready to discard “the old framework” when it comes to seat distributions between its component parties.

BN has to feature more new faces as candidates in the next general election, added Zahid.

“We have proven that 87% of new faces in Malacca and 79% in Johor have captured the imagination of voters to return with BN.

“Based on the record in the recent Malacca and Johor elections in the area of new faces featured, we won in all youth channels, including with new voters aged 18-25,” said Zahid, referring to recent state elections in which BN won by more than two-thirds’ majority.

The next general election has to be held by September next year, but Umno has been pushing for it to be called earlier after convincing wins at recent state elections.

At the party general assembly in March, delegates decided to leave the discussion on the dissolution of Parliament to the party’s top five leaders – Zahid, deputy president Mohamad Hasan and the three vice-presidents, Khaled Nordin, Mahdzir Khalid and Ismail Sabri.

In a brief press conference after the convention at the World Trade Centre, Zahid also indicated that Friends of BN – a loose group of six parties allied with the coalition – would play a role in GE15.

“That is something that is almost certain,” he said when asked whether BN would field candidates from these six parties.

“We are brothers. They have helped us a lot at general and state elections… We will discuss this with them, all the party presidents and Umno’s top five.”