All eyes on September now


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 27 Mar 2012

PUTRAJAYA: September has now emerged as a likely month for the coming general election with many arguments put up against the earlier speculation of June.

One contention is that several issues will need some time to be resolved. Then, there are the travel plans of the Prime Minister which seems to rule out the June polls.

It is understood that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is scheduled to visit the United States in the second week of May, where he is expected to meet officials of the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council in New York.

The council was set up to enable the country to make a quantum leap from a middle-income nation to a high-income one.

According to sources, Najib is likely to spend five days in the United States, after which he may take a short break with his family.

“We do not know whether this is a red herring to the press as preparations for the polls are already in full steam,” one Barisan Nasional official said when told of the latest speculated election date.

On Saturday, Najib hinted that the 13th general election was around the corner, saying he sensed that the people's confidence in the Government had increased and that “rasa rasa bunyi dah dekat (it feels like the polls are imminent)”.

“During my travels around the country in the past one or two days, I could see that the confidence of the people has grown. I can feel it ... In politics, we must feel and I feel it (the general election) is near,” he added.

June is regarded as the next window period for the Prime Minister to hold the polls but there are still issues needing closure.

With April just days away, Barisan Nasional component parties are still busy resolving seat swapping issues and the list of candidates has yet to be finalised.

Najib is also making a two-day visit to China from March 31 where he will attend the launch of the Qizhou Industrial Park in Nanning with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao.

If the Prime Minister does not hold the polls by June, they will have to be held after July when the fasting month will begin.

“The whole of August will be taken up by the Hari Raya celebrations and the run-up to National Day,” an analyst said, adding that Najib could take advantage of feel-good factors such as the holiday mood and the Merdeka anniversary spirit of patriotism.

If September was picked, another analyst said, it would have to be the first week of the month.

“It cannot be late September as the haj season would have begun, ending only in October.Then, there is the Parliament meeting from Sept 24 until Nov 27, where the Budget needs to be tabled. Once it is tabled, it has to be approved by the Dewan Negara, which means it (the Budget session) will drag on until next year,” he said.

“The Dewan Rakyat is unlikely to be dissolved once the Budget has been tabled. It has to go all the way with the two Houses adopting it.”

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