Malaysia

PM says waiting for strong feel-good factor to call elections

PETALING JAYA, March 22 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today he is still deciding when to call the next general election, adding that it will only happen when public confidence towards his administration is at its highest level.

“Anything is possible but elections are based on a lot of factors but we must be able to convince people.

“The right time (is when) there is a high level of confidence in the government… we are still gauging situations (to) see what kind of support (we have),” he told Chinese-language radio station 988FM in an interview this morning.

Asked whether polls would be called by May or June, Najib (picture) said it depended on his administration’s ability to “overcome outstanding issues.” He did not however elaborate on what they were.

“(A) strong feel-good factor that’s the time where we should press the button,” said the PM.

When asked whether he considered himself a statesman or a politician, Najib replied he was a combination of the two.

Najib stressed that he was realistic that in order to think of the future of the country, the next general election needed to be won first.

“A statesman thinks of the next generation while a politician thinks of next general election. I have a clear vision for country; I know what I want to accomplish.

“I am a kind of a hybrid... I think of the next generation, but at the same time, (we) need to win the general election... a combination of the two is what’s demanded of today’s leaders,” Najib added.

Barisan Nasional (BN) under the leadership of ex-premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi suffered its worst electoral performance in the 2008 general election, when it lost five states to Pakatan Rakyat as well as its traditional parliamentary supermajority.

Najib has, however, managed to repair BN’s image and credibility since taking over from Abdullah in 2009.

In the most recent boost to the PM’s confidence, a survey last month by independent pollsters Merdeka Center showed his approval rating surging 10 percentage points to 69 per cent on the back of an improving economy and cash handouts of RM500 to low-income earners under the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia

 

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