Malaysia parliament must be dissolved soon so that elections can be held this year: UMNO secretary-general
KUALA LUMPUR: The supreme council of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) has agreed that parliament must be dissolved soon so that general elections can be held this year, said party secretary-general Ahmad Maslan on Friday (Sep 30).
In a statement issued after the party’s monthly supreme council meeting at night, he said: “Based on this decision, the prime minister will present the proposed dissolution date to the king in accordance with Article 40 (1) of the Federal Constitution.”
“The decision made in the meeting was based on UMNO’s consistent stance from the beginning to return the people’s mandate back to them, which has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government due to political infighting among them,” the secretary-general added.
Earlier in the day, UMNO deputy president Mohamad Hasan wrote on Facebook that the party’s top five leaders have reached a "consensus" during their meeting. He did not elaborate.
"God willing, the discussion with the party’s top five in the afternoon went well. We have reached a consensus for the best way that the party can move forward," he wrote.
This comes amid intense speculation that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob might dissolve parliament after the budget for 2023 is tabled next week.
UMNO’s top five leaders are party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Mr Mohamad and vice presidents Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Mahdzir Khalid and Mr Ismail Sabri.
Mr Ismail Sabri is facing mounting pressure from his party to dissolve parliament.
However, he has yet to commit to a timeline for the polls, as there have been calls for him to avoid holding elections during the upcoming year-end flood season.
Last Sunday, the prime minister reportedly said that any decision on when to dissolve parliament would depend on the outcome of the discussions among the top five UMNO leaders on Friday.
Malaysia’s Meteorological Department has warned of floods during the north-east monsoon season, which typically starts in November and ends in March.
Ahmad Zahid, who is facing 47 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering has been very vocal in pushing for snap polls, ostensibly to seek a fresh mandate from the people.
He said that UMNO was willing “to wade through floodwater” to ensure Barisan Nasional (BN) emerged victorious in GE15.
The UMNO president has criticised the opposition for using the flood and inflation narrative to resist an early general election, labelling the flood narrative as a “myth”.
UMNO currently heads the ruling government alongside Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia. However, there have been signs that UMNO and PN will be entering the election as opponents.
Mr Ismail Sabri took over as prime minister following the resignation of Mr Muhyiddin Yassin on Aug 16, 2021 after the latter failed to command the majority support of parliamentarians.
The five-year mandate of the current government will expire in July 2023, and GE15 must be held within 60 days of the dissolution of parliament.
It is the prerogative of the prime minister to decide when the election is called, although the king must first give his consent to dissolve parliament.
The Election Commission had said that GE15 would cost RM1.1 billion (US$237 million) due to the addition of five million voters, following the implementation of automatic registration for anyone aged 18 and above.