Will there be an early election?

This is from reuters:


Early Election for Malaysia

(Reuters) – Malaysia’s reluctance to upset its majority Malay population has led to reversal of government decisions and reform pullbacks that are fuelling talk Prime Minister Najib Razak may be readying for a snap election.

The government last week decided against issuing a gambling licence to quell mounting public anger in the mainly Muslim country. This followed postponements on a Goods and Services Tax in February and a scheduled fuel price hike in May.

Analysts say Najib’s wariness of upsetting the country’s critical voting bloc signals possible early polls that are not due until 2013, but which he could call as soon as next year amid a recovering in the economy, which shrank 1.7 percent in 2009.

“The stars really need to be aligned, but as soon as Najib feels he has delivered on at least some of his promises and the economy remains decent, he will call for elections,” said political analyst Ong Kian Ming from UCSI university in Kuala Lumpur.

Following are scenarios on possible election timelines:



Most likely. A strong win in an early election would give Najib, who took office in April last year, the political mandate to break through resistance to reform from sections of the Malay majority who fear their rights are under threat.

Najib has pledged pro-market economic reforms to lure lagging foreign investment and turn around his ailing coalition.

He has tried to woo alienated ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities who abandoned the ruling coalition in the last national election in 2008, leading to its unprecedented losses, but there are few signs that he can win them back by next year.

His National Front coalition would thus need to rely on support largely from Malays, who make up 55 percent of the country’s 28 million population and are favoured under a four-decades old race-based economic policy that critics say hurts foreign investment and fosters corruption.

This will mean that reforms enacted in the run-up to the polls will be selective and politically expedient, analysts say.


Less likely, though the ideal option for Najib. Holding back would give him time to rebuild minority support and implement reforms such as the GST, fuel subsidy cuts and further market liberalisation while managing any potential backlash.

The economic reform measures, if enacted in full, would create a positive market impact, said Macquarie Research in a report.

“Private investment would be boosted by deregulation, government-linked company margins would rise with efficiency, consumption rises with income, and the ringgit would appreciate,” said the report.

Delaying polls could bring greater political and economic pay-offs but also carries greater potential risk for Najib.

Waiting could give the opposition more time to consolidate its own support base and result in Najib failing to regain the ruling coalition’s once iron-clad two-thirds majority in parliament that it lost in the 2008 polls.

Such an outcome would leave Najib’s vulnerable to challenge from within his party, increasing political instability.



Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is currently on trial for sodomy, and the reaction of his supporters in the event of a conviction in the case that is set to conclude at the end of August would have to be factored into the timing of an election.

Anwar says the case against him is a political conspiracy, while the government insists he will get a fair trial. It is hard to predict the depth of anger that a conviction would trigger.

Having Anwar out of the picture may jeopardise the opposition’s momentum, but it could also galvanise the opposition further and lead to a repeat of demonstrations that shook the capital after his sacking as deputy prime minister in 1998.

Any marked increase in political tensions could see polls being delayed and cause a negative market reaction, with more foreign money pulled from stocks, bonds and the ringgit.

However, with limited foreign portfolio investment still in the country, the impact will be muted.



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. klm
    Jul 02, 2010 @ 14:37:23

    I am hoping for an early election. The earlier the better. Many of us has decided how we are going to vote. The sooner we see a change the better.


  2. disgusted
    Jul 02, 2010 @ 17:18:29

    Sorry, Kim, to disappoint you, the Sarawak state elections will come first as testing ground before launching an all out attack on wooing voters.

    Besides, Anwar has to be dealt with ensuring he is within four walls first, rock a bit to split up Pakatan, creating more frogs and traitors in the process if possible, before the D-Day.

    Plus repackaging the economy into a more attractive shape…shaping up the “goons” and component “parasites” into a fighting force.

    But I agree that the supreme warlord himself would also want an early re-erection of his powers…provided the “vigraic” conditions are right.


  3. CYC
    Jul 02, 2010 @ 17:47:24

    Agree with disgusted’s view: Sarawak state poll will be the barometer. He is in a very uncertain mood and he can’t figure out if the 72% popularity is real or a sign leading to Holland.

    He wants an early election but he is uncertain. At the same juncture, he can’t delay the election if economic reform is not done. If economic reform actually took place, he angered a lot of electorates who are negatively affected by rising cost of living.

    Early election is till worth a gamble.


  4. Dr Hsu
    Jul 02, 2010 @ 19:04:45

    There is some talk that Sarawak and Perak elections will be held first, maybe end of year, and then the big one will be decided once they see how the trend goes…


  5. disgusted
    Jul 03, 2010 @ 18:52:21

    Dr, Perak? Why Perak? They want to crumble Selangor, no time for Perak. Imagine two states in control before GE.


  6. mykantree
    Jul 04, 2010 @ 23:06:36

    My prediction is that Najib will delay the next GE to as far back as possible. Certainly not 2010 or 2011 and not earlier than September in 2012.

    That will give him maximum time to see some positive effects of the NEM, if any.

    In the meantime, there will be many more multi-million ringgit projects to stimulate the economic well being of his clan and cronies.

    He will either have a hung election/parliament or lose it to the current opposition. Malaysia will be quite bankrupt by then!


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