KUALA LUMPUR: There were loud calls for the dissolution of Parliament to pave the way for the 15th General Election (GE15) at the launch of the Barisan Nasional Youth machinery here.
An estimated 10,000 youths, all in blue Barisan attire, packed Stadium Titiwangsa here chanting “bubar” or “dissolve Parliament” while Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi delivered their speeches at the event.
Ahmad Zahid, who took the stage last, echoed the clarion call, saying in his speech that the message was clear that the time to call for the general election is now.
The Umno president said what is needed now from the Prime Minister is for him to announce the call for a general election.
Barisan is also willing to weather the floods and heavy rain if GE15 is held this year, he added.
“Let’s not wait ... it is loud and clear. I am confident the Prime Minister can see clearly that we cannot wait any longer.
“We want a win for Barisan and we don’t want people to continue to be incited (by controversial issues raised by the Opposition).”
“They (Opposition) can have large gatherings but we don’t need large gatherings, we have bigger spirits, and if such a high level of spirit is translated into the general election, we will win,” Ahmad Zahid said yesterday.
Also present at the gathering were MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, MIC president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran, MCA Youth chief Datuk Nicole Wong, MIC Youth chief K. Raven Kumar and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) Youth exco leader Edwin Laimin.
Ahmad Zahid said the top five Umno leaders have met and discussed a few times for a suitable date for GE15.
He said Barisan will have roadshows to counter all the allegations and issues brought up by the Opposition against Barisan.
He also said there is no personal problem, whether politically or personally, between him and the Prime Minister.
He said both of them have great chemistry together despite outside chatter on their relationship.
Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri, who said that the general election is just a short wait away, urged Barisan members to “lock in” nearly eight million new voters who will be added to the electoral roll for GE15.
He said this key demographic section includes some four million voters aged 21 and below, adding that far-reaching engagement campaigns must be made with them if Barisan wants to win, as the elections are considered a “numbers game”.
“There will be a huge increase in voters in GE15, from 14.9 million in GE14 to a minimum of 22.7 million in GE15.
“Out of this, it is estimated that around four million are aged 21 years and below.
“It’s a numbers game. How many we approach and meet with, that’s what will secure our win,” Ismail Sabri said.
Amendments to the law that came into effect in December 2021 have lowered the voting age to 18 from 21, and enabled automatic registration for those who qualify.
The effect of these new laws meant that there will be millions of new voters for GE15.
Ismail Sabri said GE15 will be a “different ball game”, with it being a virtual battle compared to what was done in previous elections.
He called for Barisan Youth members to thoroughly master and win the virtual war by providing answers to the missives delivered by the Opposition via social media.
“If we fail to answer as we did in GE14, we will pay dearly,” he said.
Responding to the chants made by Barisan Youth members for the dissolution of Parliament, Ismail Sabri, who is an Umno vice-president, said the party’s top five will be meeting soon to set the date.
“We are very close to the elections. I will set the date with the president (Ahmad Zahid).
“Sikit lagi, percayalah (just a bit more time, trust me).
“I hear your calls clearly. What is important is that when Parliament is dissolved and GE15 is held, we must win,” said the Prime Minister.
Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the party’s divisions nationwide were prepared and the machinery well-oiled and ready to roll out for the general election.
“We have done roadshows across 191 divisions covering all the states, from Padang Besar in Perlis to Sipitang in Sabah.
“I have witnessed for myself together with all the division heads that our preparedness is at a very good level and ready to roll out at any given time should the elections be called,” he said.
Barisan Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki also said the Youth machinery is battle-ready even if the polls were to be held tomorrow.
Their spirits are high, having waited for the past four years, he said, adding that preparations on the ground by the 191 Barisan divisions are going well.
“The mandate to set the date for the 15th General Election is with the Prime Minister, the president and deputy president of Umno, so we trust them to decide.
“But even if the Prime Minister were to dissolve Parliament tomorrow, the machinery is ready,” he added.
He also called for the rejuvenation of the party, adding that the previous Johor and Melaka state elections won by Barisan had featured a majority of young candidates and this aspect was clearly well-received by the voters.
As such, Barisan must continue fielding fresh faces that can meet the people’s aspirations in GE15, said Asyraf Wajdi.