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Monday, December 19, 2016

GE14 in April, May or October? S'pore daily gazes into the crystal ball



Singapore Straits Times has, among others, waded through the monsoon season to speculate on when Malaysia would hold its next general election.
The newspaper noted how general elections in Malaysia are not held during the fasting month or the weeks after when Muslims celebrated Hari Raya.
The monsoon months, it said, is another period when polls are avoided due to the flooding in east coast states.
Based on these factors, Straits Times said it would be unlikely for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to call for the polls in January, February, March, June, September, November or December of 2017.
"The clear slots to hold elections in the first half of next year are seen in April and May, before fasting starts on May 27, political watchers say," it added.
As for the second half of the year, the newspaper said a window is available around late July to early August, but most analysts and politicians favoured October.
SEA Games factor
Analyst Amir Fareed Rahim of KRA Group consultancy is one of those who believes the polls would be held in October based on the feel good factor generated by certain events.
In August, Malaysia would host the SEA Games, where it hopes to secure numerous gold medals. Following this, would be the celebration of Malaysia's 60th Merdeka on Aug 31.
The prime minister might then table an early election budget in October, which is normally done in the third week of the month.
"Success in the SEA Games, big celebrations and Budget goodies; the narrative will be, if you want all these, vote us back in," said Amir.
The Straits Times also noted how Najib's reputation as a cautious politician would play a pivotal role as to when the election would be held and could lead to a similar suspense in the run-up to the last polls.
"Najib is not known to be decisive. If things are uncertain, he will delay and wait. He is not a risk-taker," Penang Institute fellow Wong Chin Huat was quoted as saying.
New electoral boundaries
On the same note, there are also observers who claim that the prime minister might wait for the re-delineation process to go through, since it is now halted due to legal wrangling.

In the 2008 general election, political shockwavs revebrated throughout Malaysia when the ruling coalition, for the first time since independence, lost its two-third parliamentary majority and several states.
In the 2013 polls, Najib also suffered a setback when the opposition captured the popular vote.
The coming polls, on the other hand, would witness a realignment of political forces, with former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad being part of the opposition.
On paper, the prime minister has until August 2018 to call an election.- Mkini

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