KUCHING: As the dust from the state election has just settled, political pundits are now speculating on when the 13th general election would be held.
According to a local political analyst Dr Jeniri Amir of Unimas, the general election will be held next year as the present BN government is still grappling with many outstanding issues which must be addressed before the general election can be held.
“I personally don’t agree with some political observers’ opinions that the general election will be held in July as there are three major issues to be tackled urgently by the government before they would dare to venture into the general election,” Jeniri told The Borneo Post here yesterday.
Among the major issues which the government has to address urgently are:
Firstly, the just-concluded state election indicated that the majority of Chinese in Sarawak are no longer with the government as 13 out of the 15 seats in Chinese majority areas were won by the opposition (12 by DAP and one by PKR).
Because of this trend Jeniri pointed out, the Chinese in other parts of the country would have similar sentiment and therefore the BN government has to think how it should address the issue without losing the support of the majority of the community.
If the sentiment of the Chinese in Sarawak were to be the yardstick, then MCA and Gerakan could possibility lose all their seats if the general election were to be held in July.
Secondly, Jeniri described the call by Ibrahim Ali of Perkasa to “crusade against ungrateful Christians” as another issue which Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s government has to address.
While both Christian leaders and the government have straightened the issue at the top level, it has not gone down well yet with the grassroots of both the Christian community and those advocating Perkasa’s approach.
“As religious issue is very sensitive, it will therefore take sometime for the matter to cool down,” Jeniri said.
The last and most important hurdle which the BN government has to address is the pending review of the petrol subsidy which is scheduled to be done in June.
While the price of RON97 and sugar has been reviewed many times, RON95 which is meant for the masses and is currently priced at RM1.90 will be reviewed.
“Any revision of the subsidies on petrol and other commodities will take time for the masses to swallow,” Jeniri pointed out.
He was asked to comment on PAS central working committee member and MP of Kuala Selangor Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad’s speculation that the next general election would be held in July because Najib very recently had mooted the idea of having a mock election for Umno and the BN in July.
“And the most telling is the fact that Umno and the BN have now gotten down to having polling and counting agents identified by name, in all streams in the polling districts throughout the country.
“That’s the level of preparedness,” said Dzulkefly.
He further emphasised that Najib would go for a simple majority of only 112 seats to secure Putrajaya from falling to the opposition.
Malaysian parliament has 222 seats.
The current term of parliament and state assemblies in all states except Sarawak will expire in March 2013.