PETALING JAYA: Rising food prices and the cost of living might delay the next general election, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
"We are now facing a period of increasing inflation with high prices. As such, do you think this is the right time (to hold the election)?" asked Ismail Sabri.
With speculation that the 15th General Election (GE15) could be held before the end of the year, the Prime Minister was adamant that the polls should not be held until the country can curb inflation.
Bank Negara Malaysia expects headline inflation to average between 2.2% and 3.2% this year.
Ismail Sabri, who was speaking to Nikkei Asia in Tokyo, said the election cannot be delayed past the timeframe set in the Federal Constitution but holding it early would need a second look at the present situation.
He also said he was a "party person" and would have to adhere to Umno's decision as well as the Cabinet's.
He also said the government was keen to bring back the goods and services tax (GST) to expand its revenue base.
Ismail Sabri said the government was aware of the negative perception towards GST but had limited options for replenishing the federal coffers.
The government would also formulate ways to educate the public on the importance of GST and transparent tax collection if it is reintroduced, he added.
"The government will aim for a rate that is not so high that it burdens the people, but not so low that it defeats the purpose of expanding tax revenue," he said.
"The government is also working on a subsidy rationalisation programme aimed at providing targeted assistance to low- and middle-income households and a comprehensive plan will be submitted to the Cabinet for deliberation soon," he added.