KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Parliament is likely to be dissolved on Mar 28, 29 or 30, making way for general elections that must be held by August, The Star newspaper said on Thursday (Mar 15) without giving any sources for the report.
The newspaper noted that a report on new electoral boundaries is expected to be given to all Members of Parliament by next week, and may be tabled as early as Monday.
A simple majority of 111 votes – with the number of lawmakers currently at 220 – is needed to have the proposal passed.
The fact that the motion need not go through the Dewan Negara – which shortens the time to enforce the redelineation – is also another reason why political pundits are targeting the end of March, the newspaper reported.
The Star said that another "giveaway" is that Barisan Nasional will unveil its manifesto on Apr 7.
"While a manifesto can be launched anytime, it has been a practice by Barisan to do so after the dissolution," it said.
The newspaper also reported that a new government would be in place before mid-May, suggesting that the election date could be set for the end of April or early May.
Political analyst Prof Abdul Halim Sidek of Universiti Malaysia Kelantan told The Star that the end of March is the "right time" since the Election Commission needs 30 days to hold an election.
“Whatever it is, the general election needs to be over by mid-May – before Muslims begin their fasting in the month of Ramadan,” he said.
Analysts and ruling party sources told Reuters this week that Prime Minister Najib Razak was confident of an election victory and that polls could be called for as early as April.
The term of the current government ends on Jun 24.
LABOUR DAY CELEBRATIONS POSTPONED: MINISTER
In another sign that Parliament could be dissolved next month, Malaysia Human Resources Minister Richard Riot told Channel NewsAsia that his ministry has postponed labour day celebrations on May 1.
"There is a high chance that election campaigning is going on during May 1 ... that's why the ministry has decided to postpone the labour day celebration," Mr Riot said on the sidelines of a convocation ceremony at Putra World Trade Centre.
"This is not something new, in the last election, similarly (the celebration was) postponed until Jun 23 to make way for GE13 that fell on May 5."
Najib's government has been tainted by scandal, particularly over a state-run investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The scandal has brought unprecedented shifts in political forces in Malaysia, where the ruling UMNO has held power since Malaysia's independence from Britain in 1957.
Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who helped found the ruling United Malays National Organisation, and his opposition alliance have emerged as a major challenger to Najib, who denies any wrongdoing over 1MDB.