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Monday, July 3, 2017

Academic: GE14 likely in March for post-budget impact

Political analyst Jeniri Amir says Budget 2018 will be people-centric and Prime Minister Najib Razak has fewer other options between now and June next year.
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PETALING JAYA: A political analyst believes the next general election (GE14) will be held in March next year to capitalise on the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping this October and following the implementation of Budget 2018.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak political analyst Jeniri Amir said it would not be held this August as it will be too soon and the nation’s attention would be on the SEA Games (Aug 19 to 30) and Merdeka the following day.
“In September, we celebrate Malaysia Day and in October, the federal budget will be announced where it will likely be a people-centric budget.
“Chinese President Xi Jinping will be visiting Malaysia in October and Najib will be engrossed in a lot of activities during the visit,” he told FMT.
Jeniri said therefore, it is unlikely to be in November and December as Najib would need time to disburse the Budget 2018 allocations.
“Furthermore, there have never been elections in December because of school holidays and Christmas. No one would really be in the mood for elections.”
Jeniri further commented that Najib would not want to hold the general election in the wet month of January while in February the Chinese New Year will be celebrated.
“May and June next year will be the fasting month. The best option would be in March,” Jeneri said.
The analyst added that Najib needs time to allow people to experience the “feel good” budget.
“Everyone realises this would be the mother of all elections when compared with 2008 and 2013 as they face the opposition.
“It will determine if BN will still be in Putrajaya or not. Due to that, it is very important for Najib to decide on a proper time for the election.”
Jeniri added Najib needs time to face the challenges ahead from the troubled sovereign fund 1MDB and the Felda issue, involving Felda Global Ventures (FGV).
FGV has seen a change in the top leadership with Sulaiman Mahbob appointed as acting chairman replacing Isa Samad, who has been appointed as acting chairman of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).
The FGV board of directors has decided to refer group president and chief executive officer Zakaria Arshad and group chief financial officer Ahmad Tifli Mohd Talha to a domestic inquiry panel.
The decision was taken after evaluating and considering their show-cause letters with regards to issues related to the long-outstanding debt of Safitex Trading LLC to FGV subsidiary, Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd.
Both Zakaria and Tifli are currently on a leave of absence.
Jeneri said with Felda plantations in 54 out of 222 parliamentary seats, it was crucial for Najib to resolve the Felda issue.
The Federal Constitution states that a general election needs to be called when Parliament is dissolved or it reaches a maximum term of five years. The current Parliament kicked off its term on June 24, 2013, therefore Parliament will automatically be dissolved as of June 24, 2018.
As a general election needs to be called no later than two months after Parliament is dissolved, therefore, the last possible date for the next general election (GE14) will be Aug 24, 2018. -FMT

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