KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s schedule is busy for the next two weeks with a live television interview tonight, as the prime minister meets people across the nation before likely dissolving Parliament by the end of March for a mid-April general election.
The Malaysian Insider understands from several Cabinet ministers and Barisan Nasional (BN) party leaders that the 13th general election will be held within the next five weeks, with most of the candidates already selected and the ruling coalition’s manifesto ready by March 20.
This is the second-longest period of more than five years since the country held a general election with the last time being the period between the country’s third general election in May 1969 and the fourth general election in August 1974.
“Najib’s schedule is packed with many appearances but there is a lull from the last week of March until April 24 when the Asean Summit is held in Brunei. Elections are likely then,” a source told The Malaysian Insider.
Sources have said that Parliament could be dissolved as early as March 25, just two days before the expiry of the state assemblies in Johor and Negri Sembilan.
“The Election Commission (EC) has 60 days to call elections but it is most likely to wait until all legislatures and Parliament are dissolved,” said another source.
The source said the four Pakatan Rakyat-ruled (PR) states are also likely to dissolve their legislatures at the same time to ensure a general election is held for all states except Sarawak, which held its state election last year.
“The general election will be in April, either in the second or third week, because the BN is confident of scoring big by then,” the source added.
Najib has gone around the country for private broadcaster TV’3 Jelajah Janji DiTepati (Promises Fulfilled Tour) for the past year, apart from unannounced visits to popular spots across Malaysia in an effort to engage with various Malaysian demographics.
He has also announced a slew of economic and legal initiatives and handouts for the people, with the latest being equalising the pay for police and armed forces and pay rises for other civil servants yesterday.
The prime minister will appear on TV3 at 9 tonight in an interview broadcast live where he will answer questions from New Straits Times (NST) readers. Both TV3 and NST are part of the Umno-controlled Media Prima Bhd media group.
The BN chairman has postponed several events in the past week due to the incursion by Sulu gunmen asserting their sultan’s claim over Sabah but the events are now back on track a week later.
Najib is due to attend the One Million Purple Walk event organised by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry on March 17, a week after its original date. He had taken over the ministry last year from Wanita Umno leader Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil whose senatorship was not renewed following a scandal involving her family.
On March 19, He will launch the annual report card for the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and Government Transformation Programme (GTP) which he introduced when taking office in April 2009.
The prime minister is then scheduled to attend a Royal Malaysian Police gathering on March 22 before attending the last Janji DiTepati event in his Pekan parliamentary constituency on March 23.
His last scheduled public event this month thus far is the Malaysian Petronas F1 Race in Sepang on March 24, when the one-week first-term school holidays begin.