Elections after Chinese New Year as BN needs to woo Chinese, says Perkasa
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak will call elections after Chinese New Year next year to allow the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) to use the celebrations to court votes from the Chinese community, predicts Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali.
The federal coalition lost most of the Chinese votes in Election 2008 with its mainly Chinese parties — the MCA and Gerakan — losing many federal and state seats.
Perkasa, whose members are mostly from Umno, has been seen to exacerbate the situation by asserting Malay rights and supremacy by asking for more business opportunities and even insulting the Chinese by giving them money in white packets at the last Chinese New Year celebrations. White money packets are usually used for Chinese funerals.
“Now, Datuk Najib’s government is really focusing on winning the Chinese community’s votes, and of course the Chinese New Year celebrations can be used with various programmes such as open house and so on, so in February.
“I hold on to my view, my prediction that elections will be held after Chinese New Year in 2013,” Ibrahim, president of the Malay right-wing group, told The Malaysian Insider in an interview.
He also said the prime minister does not have to rush to call for elections in November as he has to focus on Budget 2013, which will be tabled on September 28.
“This Budget, he wants to table not only what is good because elections are coming, but he also wants to see after he tables it, whether there is time for the rakyat to feel that the Budget is truly good,” added the independent MP for Pasir Mas in Kelantan.
He said it was not logical for elections to be held in November because Muslim voters would have just returned from their Haj pilgrimage.
He also pointed out that November is the exam month for students and the monsoon season.
“I hear the SPR (Election Commission) has administrative duties that are not yet settled, need more time,” he said.
The Malaysian Insider has previously reported that BN was looking at November polls which is within 60 days of Budget 2013 being tabled, shortly after Najib pointed out the coincidences of events based on multiples of 11, his favourite number.
Ibrahim said that PKR was in a hurry for elections to be held because its de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim could not wait to be the prime minister.
The diminutive politician was close to Anwar during their undergraduate days in the 1970s. He was also involved in major political events such as the Kelantan emergency in 1978, Umno’s split and the setting up of splinter party Parti Melayu Semangat 46 in the 1990 elections, and Anwar’s sacking from the Cabinet and Umno in 1998.
He was also detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in 1974 for being actively involved in an undergraduate movement while leading the Kesatuan Siswa Institut Teknologi Mara (KSITM), staying in the Kamunting detention camp for two years with Anwar, who now leads the opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
Now firmly opposed to the PKR chief, Ibrahim said: “I don’t see it at all (Anwar becoming PM), because he and us cannot overcome the will of God.”
“But because he almost became the PM once when he was Dr Mahathir’s deputy, it did not happen and he was fired and all sorts of things happen, to me, if according to logic, his chance is already gone.
“He was removed last time because of Allah’s will where PM’s position was very near for him, but then he fell,” said Ibrahim, who won Pasir Mas on a PAS ticket in 2008 but later declared himself an independent and head of the Perkasa group.
Perkasa has been actively fighting for the rights of the Malays and frequently criticises PR component parties PKR, PAS and the DAP for allegedly trying to threaten the interests of the Malays and Bumiputeras, which are already guaranteed in the Federal Constitution.
Perkasa’s presence has caused unease with those from PR which considers the organisation to be racist while disregarding Malaysia’s multi-ethnic nature.