Early parliamentary polls likely in Malaysia

November 18th, 2010 - 6:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 18 (IANS) Two successive victories by the ruling alliance in by-elections have sparked speculation about Malaysia’s parliamentary poll being advanced.

General election tops the agenda of a series of high-level meetings of the Barisan Nasional (BN), The Star said Thursday.

The meetings come in the wake of Barisan’s double victory in the Batu Sapi parliamentary and Galas state by-elections.

The BN management committee met here Thursday and this will be followed by the ruling coalition’s supreme council meeting Saturday. The BN national convention is scheduled for Nov 28.

Saturday’s meeting is also in line with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s call during last month’s general assembly of his party, United Malays National ASssociation, to prepare for the elections.

Razak’s call was echoed by his deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin, who said the elections were “just a few months away”.

According to BN officials, top of the agenda would be preparations for the 13th general election, expected to be either next year or in 2012.

Najib, who is also Barisan chairman, would brief party leaders on what is expected of them as well as seek feedback on what needs to be done.

Barisan has a lot of ground to make up before the elections as it is bent on regaining the political support it lost to opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the March 2008 general election, the newspaper commented.

Najib, who became the prime minister in April last year, is seen as trying to cash in on the disarray in the PR whose leader, former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, is facing trial on charges of sodomy.

Multi-racial Malaysia is home to 2.1 million ethnic Indians, who constitute eight percent of the 29 million population.

Most Indians traditionally voted for Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the largest Indian-based party and other BN constituents.

The BN’s 2008 debacle, losing its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority, is partly credited to a drift in the ethnic Indian vote.

Indians, a bulk of them Tamils who settled here during the British era, have long-pending grievances about education and job opportunities and their places of worship being demolished or relocated.

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