Fixed five-year term fairer, says Nazri
Several dates have been mooted over the past two years as potential polls dates for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to gain his own mandate after taking over from Tun Abdullah Badawi in 2009, leading to concerns in the economy over uncertainty in policymaking.
"Personally, I agree that five years means five years, so that when we go to polls, the mentris besar and prime minister know that they will sit in there for five years. I would like to be the catalyst to bring this principle to Malaysia. It is fairer," the de facto law minister (picture) told Parliament today.
The minister in the prime minister's department said this when winding up debate on the supplementary supply bill after opposition lawmakers raised concerns from the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) over delays in calling for federal polls.
FMM president Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon said a week ago that constant speculation over election dates "have created a certain amount of uncertainty" in the industry.
The Malaysian Insider had reported on May 28 of a possible September general election but the prime minister's announcement that Budget 2013 will be tabled on September 28 has pushed party strategists to look at a further date to also ensure budget goodies get to the ground.
Surveys and analysis conducted internally by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) show it can win over 100 federal seats if polls are called soon but the federal opposition expects the budget to be a “game-changer” that could dampen any potential gains.
The Malaysian Insider understands that a compilation of projections by the opposition pact’s three components largely match the consensus of Barisan Nasional (BN) intelligence which sees the ruling coalition assured of 80 seats with up to a further 50 wins likely.
“The analyses from both sides match very closely. The only big difference is we are more optimistic in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak which can yield us another 20 seats,” a top PR strategist told The Malaysian Insider.
Although the BN surveys show it could place up to 146 lawmakers in Parliament, just two short of a two-thirds supermajority, sources say this prognosis came immediately after the RM500 cash handouts to low-income families under the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) scheme.
A more recent survey by the Special Branch said the ruling pact could only win up to 118 federal seats, prompting BN strategists to seek a delay in the polls.
The prime minister’s approval ratings shot up to 69 per cent immediately after the RM2.6 billion in cash was disbursed but dipped last month after violent clashes between police and protestors at the April 28 Bersih rally for free and fair elections.
Najib is unlikely to hold the general election due by mid-2013 unless he is confident of improving on BN’s tally of 140 MPs from March 2008 over even regaining the coalition's customary two-thirds supermajority in Parliament.
He took over as PM a year later, ostensibly to improve on the coalition’s worst-ever electoral performance.
The BN chief recently said he will announce next year’s budget on September 28, expected to include a repeat of BR1M, which the Umno president has admitted is on the cards.
The Malaysian Insider also reported last week that BN MPs were handed RM1.5 million to plough into their constituencies in Monday’s pre-council meeting for the current parliamentary sitting.