BN and Najib have upper hand in GE14, say analysts


MO,14/2/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: The ruling Barisan Nasional and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak are clearly having the upper hand in the coming 14th general election (GE14), said two prominent political analysts. Associate Professor Dr Jeniri Amir of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak said voter sentiment against Pakatan Harapan was on the decline in the past year, while the internal crisis within its component parties, especially on the allocation of seats, could worsen as GE14, expected to be held within the next three months, drew nearer.

Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia said with a much more fractious opposition now as Pas was going it alone this time, compared with a united front against BN in the previous two elections, there would no longer be straight fights in most constituencies and voter sentiment would work to the advantage of BN. “On the other hand, voter perception and opinion of the government has steadily improved because of its commitment to solving the people’s problems, like housing, economy, education, cost of living and job opportunities,” said Jeniri.

“I strongly believe Najib will lead the BN to a comfortable win this time, despite consistent attacks from former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the opposition. Compared with the last few years, the BN and Najib are now in a more solid position to be re-elected.” And, with the opposition vote split between Pas and Pakatan Harapan, BN and particularly Umno, would win the bulk of the rural seats and therefore win the election, the analyst said.

“BN even has a good chance of regaining a two-thirds majority with the three-cornered fights now expected to prevail in GE14 and the bill on redelineation of election boundaries due to be passed by Parliament next month,” said Jeniri. His confidence in BN reclaiming the threshold two-thirds majority in Parliament that the ruling coalition lost in the 2008 and 2013 elections was similarly shown in the outcome of a public opinion poll conducted recently by the Merdeka Centre, an independent pollster.

After all, the analysts and Merdeka Centre argued that BN is only 13 seats short of a two-thirds majority. Sivamurugan said BN had become stronger since 2015 after a brief leadership crisis in Umno when Najib had to drop then deputy president and deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and vice president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal from the cabinet. “The prime minister has consolidated his position since, based on the strong support within Umno,” he said.

He pointed out that Malay votes in GE14 would see a five-way split between Umno, PKR, Pas, Amanah and PPBM, but Umno would still have the upper hand especially in the rural constituencies that made up the bulk of the 222 parliamentary seats. Sivamurugan said Sabah and Sarawak would remain the bastion and “fixed deposits” of BN supporters as they did in the previous two polls, bolstered by Najib’s strong image in the two politically-strategic states as the prime minister who genuinely cares for their wellbeing.

Jeniri concurred, saying being still largely rural states, the narrative of politics of development was still relevant in both Sabah and Sarawak, adding that during election time, rural votes were more concerned with bread and butter issues. “I strongly believe it is impossible to win a general election in Malaysia without winning Sabah and Sarawak and rural seats,” he said. Despite persistent attacks by Dr Mahathir and other opposition leaders in exploiting the 1MDB issue, Jeniri said it did not gain any traction among voters in the rural areas.

He said that like 2008 and 2013, the opposition again was portraying a confident image in the run up to the next election but in reality as GE14 became closer, the situation for its component parties was getting more complicated compared with previously. “Opposition parties are nowhere nearer to an election pact. In fact, they are still quarrelling about the allocation of seats,” said Jeniri.

As Jeniri sees it, GE14 boils down to the choice between a country to be led by Najib or Dr Mahathir, now leading the Pakatan Harapan front. “Are you telling me that Malaysians want to be ruled by a 93-year old leader who was given the opportunity by BN and Umno to lead the country for 22 years? What can he do for one or two years as PM?

“To bring Malaysia to the future, voters have to choose wisely. The stakes are high and this is not a game or an experiment. There is no point in crying over spilt milk. Just look at the Brexit case (in Britain) and also the voters in the US over Donald Trump. Now they regret, but it’s too late. “Do they want to go back to the Mahathir era or do they want to be led by a visionary and dynamic leader who is committed to bringing Malaysia to a higher level?”

–NSTP



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Where Dr M will contest in GE14


TUN M

MO,13/2/2018, PAKATAN Harapan prime minister candidate, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, recently urged all its component parties to put the coalition first and party second if they’re serious about the 14th General Election. There is much disagreement on the distribution of seats among them. As the biggest party in the coalition, DAP had the first pick of seats to contest. And, they picked 35 seats, which are Chinese-dominated areas where they have a really good chance of winning.

And, since the rest of the component parties are not fighting for Chinese-dominated seats, DAP has no concerns about the seat allocation — DAP can just sit happily and receive what it asked for. The problem is with the seats at the Malay and mixed areas. These are the seats which all other component parties in Pakatan — PKR, PAN and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) — are fighting for. Members in the coalition have voiced dissatisfaction with the seat allocation. PPBM, the smallest and junior party, was allocated the highest number with 52 seats, PKR, 51; and PAN, 27.

It is not only about the number of seats allotted to the parties, but more importantly, it is about the quality of the seats, i.e. which seats offer the best chance of victory. It is of no consequence if a party gets the highest allocation of seats, but has a fighting chance in only one or two seats. This is the case with PPBM. For DAP, 31 of the 35 seats were won with a large majority in the urban Chinese areas in the last general election in 2013. Effectively, DAP gets the highest number of quality seats, hence it’s the biggest winner of the seat distribution in Pakatan.

After DAP, PKR gets the priority to pick the seats. As DAP and PKR leaders have already asserted that all incumbent party seats are to be maintained with the respective parties, it will leave PAN and PPBM with not many good choices in the seat allocation. They are left with Malay seats at Umno’s strongholds where BN dominates and Pakatan has the least chances of winning. But, PPBM is not the biggest loser in the seat distribution. It is PAN. PAN received the least number of seats and has the least chances of winning. It probably feels that it is not fair to be passed by a junior and smaller party such as PPBM. No wonder it is vociferously against the seat allocation.

It seems that PAN did not get the respect it deserved in Pakatan. Other members of the coalition must see PAN as a lesser copy of Pas in Pakatan. This is evidenced by the recent spat between PKR deputy president cum Selangor menteri besar, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali with PAN in Selangor over seat allocation. This is a manifestation of a bigger problem within Pakatan. No doubt DAP is the only winner here.

Dr Mahathir must know how shameful this is; his party, PPBM, received the biggest allocation of seats, but has the least chances of winning. If he himself did not engineer this, he must have known that this is theatrical at best, window dressing to make it seem as if PPBM is the most dominant party in Pakatan, designed to attract the Malays. But, who are they kidding? Everybody knows DAP is the master of Pakatan. Regardless, Dr Mahathir actually has a more important problem closer to heart. He has to find two good seats to contest. One for him and one for his son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz.

If Dr Mahathir and Mukhriz take Pakatan incumbent seats, either DAP, PKR or PAN will have to give up two of their precious winnable seats. This means Dr Mahathir and Mukhriz get a free ride. However, they will be seen as weak and not contributing to the coalition. Thus, they must contest at BN incumbent seats. Rumours on the grapevine have it that possible seats are in Kedah; perhaps Langkawi, Kubang Pasu or Jerlun.

Isham Jalil, the special officer to the prime minister was recently quoted as saying: “Wherever Tun Mahathir is contesting, we will be ready for him. His fight is for a personal cause and for the continuation of his past legacy. In contrast to this, our (BN) fight is for a bigger cause and with fresh new ideas for the future. This is why we must win, and we will.” Azmin, in a recent interview said: “If we are able to convince the rakyat, and if the rakyat can accept a 93-year-old man to lead the nation, why not? This is the best option that we (Pakatan) could offer to the rakyat.”

The Selangor menteri besar recently offered Dr Mahathir to contest in Gombak. However, the voters — who are hardcore Pas and hardcore PKR “reformasi” supporters — might not have forgiven Dr Mahathir for the excesses during his rule. Thus, it is unlikely that he will contest there. Azmin’s offer to Dr Mahathir was not a sincere one. Reports linked Dr Mahathir to Langkawi for obvious reasons as he was the enabler of the island’s development and progress once upon a time. Although the BN incumbent, Nawawi Ahmad, won by a majority of 11,861 votes in 2013, Dr Mahathir’s aura is strong in Langkawi and not to be taken lightly.

The most intriguing other choice from the grapevine would be Putrajaya, where BN’s Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor won in 2013 with a 5,541 majority-vote.

It was during Dr Mahathir’s time that the city was built. And, like in Langkawi, many residents in Putrajaya still associate the city with the 93-year-old. Furthermore, his current headquarters, the Perdana Foundation, is in Putrajaya, making it easier for him to campaign during the election. So, Dr Mahathir may give Langkawi to Mukhriz to contest, and he himself may contest in Putrajaya. Knowing Dr Mahathir, he does not only want to contest, he wants to make a statement too — that even if Pakatan fails again to win “Putrajaya the Federal Government” in GE14, he can win “Putrajaya the seat”.

While GE14 will also decide Pakatan’s future, it sure looks like it’s Putrajaya or bust for Dr Mahathir this time.

–NSTP



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EC: Too soon to decide if Rafizi can contest in GE14


SPR

MO,7/2/2018, PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission today said PKR vice-president Mohd Rafizi Ramli will remain as Pandan member of parliament. EC chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said this after Rafizi was found guilty of exposing four bank accounts related to National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) and its chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail.

Hashim said it was too soon for EC to comment on Rafizi’s status as Pandan MP and whether he was eligible to contest in the upcoming general election. “This is because Rafizi has the right to appeal (the court ruling) and he has yet to exhaust all legal options,” he said in a statement today.

The Shah Alam Sessions Court today sentenced Rafizi to 30 months in jail for exposing the bank accounts and for breaching the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989. Judge Zamri Bakar handed down the sentence to Rafizi after finding him guilty of the offence.

–NSTP



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With GE14 on horizon, PM urges rakyat to consider who is best to lead country


GE14

MO,5/2/2018, PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has listed several factors that the people, especially civil servants, should keep in mind when they go to the ballot box this year. He said the electorate should ask itself: Who is able to lead the country? Who is able to uphold the people’s wellbeing? And who is forward-looking and able to build confidence? “This year is an important year, as we will be deciding on our future.

“When the time comes, one of the deciding factors is how well (the candidates) can lead. “Others are the ability to build confidence; to uphold the people’s wellbeing and to be forward-looking. “These are the things that one must keep in mind,” he said at the Prime Minister’s Department’s monthly gathering. Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Special Functions Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.

The prime minister also revealed the government’s report card for the past five years, which saw significant achievements. “Based on the Implementation and Coordination Unit (ICU), we have achieved 97.6 per cent of what was targeted for the past five years,” he said. Najib added that all of this was possible due to the symbiotic relationship between all quarters, which should be maintained. “(Civil servants) are the backbone of the government, and everything that we have planned for the people will not be achievable without the support of all,” he said.

He urged civil servants to find solutions to red tape practices which could hinder results and lead to a failure to meet the people’s expectations. The prime minister said that the people have flourished under the current administration, with Malaysians being able to perform their religious duties in Mekah and shop abroad. On this note, he questioned the claims of some that said Malaysia is a failed state and bankrupt.

He said the government will roll out a 2018 budget that would benefit everyone, citing tax income reduction of 2 per cent for middle income earners, among others. Najib reiterated that 2018 will be the year of “success and impressive results.” “I need your help in achieving this so that Malaysia can be stronger. I will work harder and my deputy will give his best” he added.

–NSTP



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Najib hints GE14 will be held before July


PRU14

MO,2/2/2018, PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has given the strongest hint yet that the upcoming 14th General Election will be held before July 14. Speaking to 1,200 recipients of the 2018 (PM-1MDB) Foundation Special Haj programme here today, Najib said the pilgrims would witness two ‘raya’ occasions before performing their Haj.

“July 14 means that two occasions would have passed, one being Hari Raya Aidilfitri and the other being another ‘hari raya’.” “You will depart (for Mecca) after the other ‘raya’,” he said in an apparent reference to the Malay word ‘pilihan raya’, which translates to election in English. The recipients are scheduled to leave for Mecca on July 14, and the national election must be held by Aug 24. Hari Raya Haji falls on Aug 21.

“Please keep this in mind — if the existing government remains in power, all of you will be able to perform the Haj. Everything will remain unchanged as long as the government remains unchanged,” he said in his speech at Masjid Putra. He said also urged the recipients to pray for Malaysia’s wellbeing and for the country to remain prosperous in the years to come.

–NSTP



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PPBM proposes RM20m fine for members who defect after GE14


PPBM

MO,17/1/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) is planning to impose RM20 million penalty for members who decide to jump ship in the event Pakatan Harapan wins in the 14th General Election (GE14). Its supreme council member Tariq Ismail, in a report by news portal Free Malaysia Today said, the reason PPBM made the proposal, somewhat similar to Pas’ ‘bai’ah’ oath, was to protect the opposition pact from losing its elected members.

He also expressed concern on the possibility of Pakatan Harapan lawmakers being offered money to leave the pact post GE14. “We don’t want those elected under our banner to defect to Barisan Nasional (BN), regardless of whether we win or lose the elections.

“That’s why it has been proposed that they sign a contract saying that if they do jump ship, it will cost them money,” he told the news portal. However, Tariq explained that the proposal has yet to be approved as PPBM would have to consult its lawyers to determine if the amount was reasonable. Under the Pas’ “bai’ah oath”, it was stated among others that elected members will have to divorce their wives if they quit the party.

–NSTP



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64,000 personnel to be on duty during GE14


POLIS

MO,18/1/2018, PASIR GUDANG: Police are conducting another round of training early next month to prepare their personnel for the general election, said Bukit Aman Inter­nal Security and Public Order Department director Comm Datuk Seri Zulkifli Abdullah. He said more than 64,000 officers and personnel will be on duty during the elections. They will be deployed throughout the country to ensure the polls are free of incidents, he added.

“The police have also taken into consideration the possibility of an increase in the number of seats or changes in constituencies.  “Our numbers are enough to ensure the general election goes on smoothly,” he said after an event marking the debut of the marine police’s RH FB speedboat at Dalac Marine Engineering and Services near Teluk Jawa here. Comm Zulkifli also said the marine police’s Southern Region Two would need more assets in Pene­buk near Pengerang following the development of the Refi­nery and Petrochemical Inte­gra­ted Deve­lopment (Rapid) project.

He said Pengerang would be an important economic area for the country with many foreign vessels converging at Rapid once the project is completed. “The marine police require more manpower and assets such as new boats as well as an office,” he added. Currently, the marine police there are sharing premises with the Pengerang police, he said.

Comm Zulkifli also said the police were also looking at relocating the Southern Region Two’s headquarters, currently located in Tampoi, to Tanjung Pelepas be­cause the waters at the current site had become shallow. “We have a plot of land there, about 32.3ha in size, where we hope to build a training centre and a new headquarters for the marine police,” he said.

–TheStar



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It’s fake: Viral message warning of robbers dressed as officials to check ID for GE14 – Nation


PETALING JAYA: A viral message warning Malaysians of robbers dressed as officials from the “Department of Home Affairs” actually turns out to be an alert issued to South Africans.

The following message claimed that “authorities” were checking the identification documents of locals, especially with the 14th General Election expected to be called this year:

“Security Alert: Be warned, there is a group going to homes and pretending to be officials from home affairs. They have documents with the letterhead Department of Home Affairs and claim to be confirming that everyone has a valid ID for the upcoming elections. They are robbing homes. Take note there is no initiative like that from the government. Send this on your neighbourhood group chat. They are everywhere and they look presentable.”

A very similarly worded statement was published by the Republic of South African Department of Home Affairs on its website (http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches/1047-media-statement-on-elections-scam) in October, 2017.

The Department had warned South Africans to be alert of a group of individuals visiting homes in South Africa, pretending to be officials from the Department.

“They carry with them documents with letterheads purportedly from Home Affairs and claim to be confirming the validity of IDs for the upcoming elections,” said the statement.

“These individuals are criminals who rob households once they gain entry. There is no such initiative from the Department,” it said.

The Department informed that Home Affairs officials are clearly identifiable by name tags, and that household visits will be announced through official government channels.

It seems like the message, which has been circulating among Malaysians recently, is a copy of the Republic of South African Department of Home Affairs’ alert.

It is also important to note that Malaysia has no Department of Home Affairs, instead we have a Home Affairs Ministry.

 



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DAP gets majority of opposition seats in GE14, not PPBM: Analyst


DAP

MO,8/1/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: Even though it was announced that Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) has the lion’s share of seats among the parties of Pakatan Harapan in the next general election (GE14), DAP will still dominate the opposition pact. This is the take of political analyst Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, who said that besides wanting to defend the 31 Parliamentary seats it won in the last general election (GE13), DAP is also expected to contest 19 Parliamentary seats in Sabah and Sarawak in GE14.

“Of the 35 seats that DAP will contest in the peninsula, 31 are ones which they won in GE13. “DAP is contesting 19 seats in Sabah and Sarawak, which brings the total number of seats they are contesting across Malaysia to 54. “(So in reality), DAP has a higher number of Parliamentary seats (54) compared to the 52 seats PPBM will contest.

“It is obvious that the ‘consensus’ they reached at the convention on Sunday was a trick to deceive Malaysians, as DAP remains dominant in the coalition,” Kamarul said when contacted. Through the consensus, Pakatan will contest 165 Parliamentary seats in the peninsula: 52 seats for PPBM, PKR (51), DAP (35) and Parti Amanah Negara (PAN) (27).

Meanwhile, Kamarul said that although PKR is expected to field candidates in Sabah and Sarawak, the people should realize that PKR is not a Malay Islamic party, like PPBM or PAN.

–BH



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Ignore viral message on GE14, says EC – Nation



PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission has advised the public to ignore the dates for dissolution of Parliament and the 14th General Election that have gone “viral” on social media.

EC chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said Parliament could only be dissolved with the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister.

He said that the dates mentioned in the viral message that has been making its rounds on social media did not make sense at all.

The message had mentioned Jan 11, 2018, as the date for the dissolution of Parliament and March 11 and March 25 as the dates for nomination and polling, respectively.

Mohd Hashim said this was unreasonable because the period between the purported dissolution of parliament on Jan 11 and polling on March 25 exceeded the 60-day limit within which a general election must be held.

“The period exceeds the 60 days as stated under Article 55(4) of the Federal Constitution within which time a general election must be held,” he said in a statement. -Bernama



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