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Friday, August 31, 2012

With strong economic numbers, BN parties bullish about polls


KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 — Strong economic numbers and growing electoral support thus far this year is boosting the confidence of Barisan Nasional (BN) parties, whose strategists feel the momentum is building behind the ruling federal coalition and conditions are ripe for snap polls soon.
Several strategists told The Malaysian Insider that the feel-good factor is palpable as the country celebrates its 55th anniversary as an independent nation today. 
BN parties are said to be quietly confident they will do well in the coming general election. — File pic
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Cabinet joined the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in the annual parade in Dataran Merdeka this morning as thousands of flag-waving Malaysians crowded around to watch the festivities.
“There is momentum building up and conditions are ripe for an election after the Budget next month,” a strategist told The Malaysian Insider.
He said BN parties are working at full steam, introducing likely candidates in some of the constituencies around the country. However, he said most BN parties also agree that they might have to sacrifice their traditional seats to dominant partner Umno in order to secure a bigger win for the coalition, which suffered historic losses in Election 2008.
“Umno is the most organised of parties and if their candidates can fare better, the other parties will give way,” the strategist added.
Another strategist said BN has pencilled the 60 days after Budget Day on September 28 as the likely period for a general election, as goodies from the budget proposals and strong economic numbers could influence a majority of the 12 million electorate to return the coalition to power.
“BN has most experience with the economy and all of Najib’s initiatives are starting to pay off,” she said.
In his National Day speech last night, Najib said the implementation of Phase Two of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP 2) had the prospect of boosting the prosperity of the nation to a higher level, and would witness a wider involvement of society, and simultaneously, a more meaningful participation by non-governmental organisations and the corporate sector.
“We are now at a period in time which is monumental for Malaysia. Everywhere, the people can see significant changes not only at the individual stage but also the family and community.
“As such, let us push up Malaysia’s image by fulfilling all promises made and realising the potentials we have for the sake of all Malaysians,” Najib said.
The Singapore Business Times reported this week that Malaysia has outstripped its neighbours in the growth stakes this year, a rarity at any time.
The generous government handouts and stronger investment spending under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) has clearly helped to boost growth, the business daily said.
Malaysia’s numbers showed that domestic demand increased by a whopping 13.8 per cent from 9.7 per cent in the previous quarter. Investment spending rose massively: 26.1 per cent from 16.1 per cent in the first quarter while government spending expanded by 9.4 per cent against 7.3 per cent in the previous quarter.
Exports slipped slightly, growing only 2.1 per cent from almost three per cent previously.
Malaysia’s growth was led by construction (22.2 per cent versus 15.5 per cent previously). Services grew by 6.3 per cent and even manufacturing expanded by 5.6 per cent. Mining growth rebounded (2.3 per cent versus 0.3 per cent in the first quarter) on higher crude oil output, while only growth in the agriculture segment contracted (minus 4.7 per cent) due to lower crude palm oil production.

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