Strange that a DPM was given the task of revealing this when the meeting could have waited a few more days for the PM to return ..... ah, well ...
malaysiakini claimed its sources said, of course on the usual condition of anonymity, that those BN kepala’s were asked about their parties’ preparedness to contest the general election.
All said - OK Boss, no sweat, almost there liao.
Najib also told them that a BN convention would be held towards the end of this year, just before the general election is called, to portray the ruling coalition’s unity and strength.
Looks like the BN (and not the government) will hijack the nation’s 50th Merdeka celebration. Najib wants BN parties to lead the celebrations to “remind people that it was the BN (formerly Alliance) parties that won us independence from the British”.
So the BN will hold a big bash at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur on the night of Aug 30. All cabinet members and BN leaders will be present.
And as I mentioned ‘hijack’ here’s the evidence, the private sector has already been told to play down their celebrations that night so as not to 'overshadow' the BN event.
Wonderful inclusiveness eh? But OK, it’s preparation for war and a little propaganda prior to the battle would not be amissed, provided there's no distracting non-BN events.
But I don’t believe it’ll be next year. Before I give my reasons, let’s hear what a news media man with links to the BN upper echelon has to say – and I refer to Wong Chun Wai of the Star. He said:
“The groundswell of opinion is that the general election will be held soon but several indicators point to next year.”
“The guessing game over the next general election has begun even if the general consensus is that it would only be held next year. The odds-on favourite is any time between January and April 2008. Certainly, it won’t be this year.”
underlining above mine
Well, that’s very strong indication from a source close to the BN top leaders.
There was a rumour that KJ wanted to mastermind a blitzkrieg election next month, yes, next month in August so that the Merdeka’s celebration would be all that sweeter with Daddy’s landslide victory just a week or so before our nation’s momentous occasion.
There’s still this possibility but I reckon the percentage probability of this occurring had dropped down from 35% to about 5%, given AAB’s unexplained absence and the current amazing silence of SIL. But the probability is still there for a snap general election in August.
Back to Wong Chun Wai – he continued:
“Last week, the Election Commission said it would only be ready to conduct the general election after September. Its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the Government had asked the commission when it would be ready but did not indicate when the election would be called.”
“He added that by the end of September, the EC would have trained 200,000 election workers and procured all the equipment needed for the polls, including see-through ballot boxes and special punchers to be distributed to the country’s 25,000 polling districts.”
Note the date of preparedness of the EC – end of September!
I will now select from Wong’s excellent article the relevant information and comment on them:
"Most analysts have ruled out the holding of elections this year because, over the next few months, the national leaders would have their hands full."
I disagree. Well, let’s see, of course bearing in mind he’s the consummate top editor of the Star while poor kaytee is an anonymous blogger ;-)
"Preparations for next month’s 50th National Day are peaking. Celebrations have been planned nation-wide for a month, which would certainly have an impact on the “feel-good” factor, which is essential in the run-up to the polls."
"In fact, on July 30 and 31, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is expected to announce a slew of projects in Kedah, Perlis, Penang and Perak as part of the Northern Corridor Economic Region project."
"From modern agricultural practices involving harvesting padi three times a year to the construction of Penang’s second bridge, the projects are expected to fire up voters in these four states."
Good, good, the pork barrelling but note his sentence “Celebrations have been planned nation-wide for a month, which would certainly have an impact on the “feel-good” factor, which is essential in the run-up to the polls” – meaning the entire month of September will be an orgy of festivities and celebration, apart from the pre-election pork barrelling.
"Abdullah and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak have a tight schedule ahead of them in September. The Budget, which many expect will be “an election budget”, is to be tabled in Parliament on Sept 7."
Mark my word – on September, in the midst of the orgy of celebrations, the budget will be a pre-election budget, meaning it will be loaded with more goodies that Father Christmas can ever imagine.
"We can rule out the possibility of the elections being held during the fasting month or Hari Raya (Oct 13-14)."
Absolutely - and a wonderful Hari Raya celebration where UMNO leaders will show their reconciliatory spirits of Islam Hadhari – generally consolidating on the feel-good atmosphere. In fact Wong's following statement actually supports my assessment as he wrote:
"The feel-good factor is expected to continue [that is, in October] with the likelihood of more national celebrations – the first Malaysian would be in space by then."
"By November, Abdullah has two important dates on his diary. First is the Asean Summit in Singapore, where his presence is regarded as crucial, as the Asean leaders deliberate over adopting the Asean Charter."
"Equally important for Pak Lah is the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda, to be held around the same time as Malaysia lobbies for the election of Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim to be the secretary-general, which would make him the first Malaysian to hold the post."
"But by November and December, the drumbeat for the elections will become louder. Politicians can forget about taking a long break with their families at this time because election preparations would be in full swing."
For the Chinese, the year 2008 is a prosperous year. In Cantonese, 2008 rhymes with “yee teng teng fatt” or “sure to prosper”. Perhaps it’s also a good time for elections.
The above is where I disagree with Wong Chun Wai.
When the feel-good atmosphere has been created and established, one doesn’t want its momentum to falter. In fact one would want to capture and exploit that mood at its peak.
My prediction is the general election will be in mid or late November when the schools close on 16 November. Maybe the election will be held on 18th or 25 th November, both being Sundays where empty schools may serve as polling stations and teachers as extra recruited EC staff for the election.
As the Asean Summit, there has been precedence when Thai PM Thaksin didn’t attend one in 2005. If the Summit is at the end of November, then it’s gnam gnam (fitting nicely), with the leaders offering their congratulations to our PM. If at beginning of month, mou man tai (no problem).
The Commonwealth Head of States meeting is not important enough and AAB or even Najib could send a representative. In years, the Commonwealth has been losing its status in the eyes of some Asian-African nations. So I don’t see that as a hindrance for a November general election.
BREAKING BLOG NEWS: The Malaysian blogger has just posted Rais Yatim Withdraws From Commonwealth Sec-Gen Race. I Wonder Why.
Well, ;-) we can guess, can't we?In KTemoc’s humble view, Wong can forget about revved up pre-elecvtion preparations in December because my forecast is that the general election could be in November. Also, the Chinese feng shui pun coincidence is not as important as the feel-good mood among the Malays.
So, to summarise, 5% probability for an August and 95% for a November general election.
Of course Wong Chun Wai could be absolutely correct in his prediction of early 2008. but I am only an anonymous blogger, so I don’t have much face to lose ;-)