PKR mulls delaying Selangor polls if GE called soon
The Malaysian Insider understands state PKR leaders feel a delay would allow PR to retain Selangor through sympathy votes if the coalition fails to take federal power, and also allow the present state administration under Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to carry out election promises made in 2008.
The Malaysian Insider understands however that DAP and PAS are more inclined towards holding elections for Penang and Kelantan concurrently with federal polls, and will meet with PKR tomorrow to iron out a “collective decision” on the matter.
Kedah, another PR state led by PAS is considered the weakest link in the PR pact, and may also be inclined to support Selangor’s stand on delaying state elections.
“We want to fulfil all our promises to the voters and we have a five-year mandate to do it.
“In Selangor, we have done our open tenders and (Selcat) Selangor Select Committee of Competency, Accountability and Transparency but now we need to develop the economy and you can do a lot in one year. For example, the Selangor state investment centre (SSIC) targeted RM8 billion investment this year and 70,000 jobs. We need time to ensure we deliver this,” PKR deputy president Azmin Ali (picture) told The Malaysian Insider.
PR won 36 out of a total of 56 state seats in Selangor in the last general election where PKR’s Khalid replaced Umno’s Dr Mohd Khir Toyo as mentri besar.
According to Azmin, there was a general consensus among PR mentri besars and chief ministers made last year — that the four states would not follow the federal government if national polls were called.
But the Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman stressed that there was no consensus made this year, and that PR would have a tactical advantage if state elections for Selangor were delayed.
MB Khalid has said the Selangor state assembly will not be dissolved anytime before June this year, and that his administration needed more time to carry out its 2012 Budget plans.
“Whatever that has been said by MB Khalid, the timing is everything. The party will ultimately decide (on whether to hold concurrent elections or otherwise),” PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution told The Malaysian Insider.
But when asked whether the PKR national leadership was in agreement on the matter, Saifuddin replied “we are inclined towards concurrent polls.”
The Machang MP said that the issue of holding concurrent elections would be a main agenda during tomorrow’s PR presidential council meeting in Parliament.
“There have been some advantages to delaying state polls, after national polls — in 1959 it proved beneficial to PAS when it took over Kelantan and Terengganu. But there are also advantages of holding concurrent elections, such as not having the need to utilise resources for a second time,” he said.
“But what is important is that it has to be a collective decision among all PR parties. At the end of the day, we have to be united in this,” added Saifuddin.
BN faced its worst electoral result in the 2008 general election, when it lost five states to Pakatan Rakyat as well as its customary two-thirds supermajority in Parliament.
But Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has indicated that he will soon call general elections, adding that confidence in his Barisan Nasional (BN) has surged of late.
Umno-controlled Berita Harian reported the prime minister as saying in Port Dickson on March 24 that “rasa-rasa bunyi (PRU) dah dekat (feel the sounds (of elections) are near).”
The Umno president said last week he will dissolve Parliament when public confidence towards his administration is at its highest level.
Observers say Najib took over in April 2009 ostensibly to improve on the ruling coalition’s performance with only a return to two-thirds majority able to guarantee he remains in power.