18 February 2017
Intriguing coalition manoeuvres are taking shape in the opposition camp in Malaysia amid talk of an early general election.
Malaysia’s general election is not due until August next year. But the fact that UMNO (the United Malays National Organisation) branch and divisional meetings have been brought forward to this year has prompted speculation that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak may call the election later this year. This would allow the incumbent Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to capitalise on the anticipated celebratory mood come August, when Malaysia celebrates 60 years of independence.
However, there are also factors that mitigate against prospects for an early election. Malaysia watchers would be quick to point out that in 2013, Prime Minister Najib waited until the eleventh hour to request the dissolution of Parliament (by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong or King), paving the way for the 13th General Election. The forecast for the Malaysian economy this year is also hardly rosy: the value of the ringgit continues to plummet, US dollar-denominated exports are slowing down, and foreign bank lending has contracted in the wake of the 1MDB crisis.
… Joseph Chin Yong Liow is Professor of Comparative and International Politics and Dean, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This first appeared in The Straits Times.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 21/02/2017