PETALING JAYA: Barisan Nasional may be raring for the General Election, but Perikatan Nasional party leaders insist that it will be “cruel” to hold it during the monsoon season.
PAS, a key member of the Perikatan coalition, has even declared that it will not dissolve the assemblies of the three states it controls – Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu – until March 2023.
Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said there should be no issue with calling a general election during the monsoon season.
The Umno president claimed that those opposing snap polls are only trying to incite the rakyat by saying snap polls at the end of the year will expose them to the risk of floods.
“Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did it in 1999. The opposition has forgotten that Dr Mahathir called for an election in November 1999, but that did not become a big issue,” Ahmad Zahid said in a Facebook post yesterday.
MIC President Tan Sri M Vigneswaran also said the MIC election machinery is ready.
“We are ready for elections but we must accept that the Prime Minister has the prerogative to decide the best time to dissolve Parliament,” he said.
Bersatu supreme council member and Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said the economy has just started to rebound and it would be irresponsible to disturb the recovery process.
“Elections should be called to get the mandate of rakyat, not for the interest of certain groups,” he said.
Bersatu is also a lynchpin of Perikatan.
“Under the Perikatan government, we emphasised two strategic objectives: to manage and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 with the vaccination programme and recalibrate economic policies to ensure economic recovery.
“The positive growth that we are seeing now is the result of measures taken by Perikatan since 2020 and our GDP rebounded to 8.9% in the second quarter. People are going back to work, borders are reopened, and the cash flow of Mak Cik Kiah is improving. This is due to Perikatan,” said Azmin.
PAS deputy president Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, the Environment and Water Minister, said a responsible government must prioritise the people’s welfare.
“Ismail Sabri had stated on Aug 21 that he would consult the Cabinet before dissolving Parliament, even if he is pushed to do so by Umno.
“Furthermore, the police are supposed to guard the ballot boxes. With the increase in voters, we would need about 70,000 police personnel for the polls. Imagine if the floods were to be at the same time,” said Tuan Ibrahim.
Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said his state assembly would only be dissolved in March, along with those of Kelantan and Terengganu.
“I was informed of this by the two other states.
“We must also address issues faced by the Election Commission. It will need to have more staff to deal with the increase in voters,” said Sanusi.
Meanwhile, Umno Youth head Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi said Barisan had always been at the forefront of helping flood victims and claimed the opposition feared they may be lagging should floods occur during elections.
“The General Election has been postponed thrice – first when Dr Mahathir resigned in 2020, secondly when Tan Sri Muhyiddin stepped down in 2021 and lastly when we agreed that the elections would take place once herd immunity against Covid-19 was achieved.
“The call for the General Election was decided by delegates at the last Umno general and special assemblies as well as the Barisan Convention recently, not by one man or one cluster.
“The rains will come but that is God’s work.
“Should the whole country be flooded, then there are provisions where the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can call for an Emergency,” said Asyraf.