Parliament set to be dissolved week after Chap Goh Meh

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak is expected to dissolve Parliament the week after Chap Goh Meh on March 2 to pave the way for the 14th General Election (GE14).

Political analysts said the window for calling the polls is closing fast.

They believe polling day will be around end of March or in April.

In May, it will be the fasting month for Muslims.

Political analyst Professor Dr Jeniri Amir from Universiti Malaya Sarawak said Parliament has to be dissolved by next month as the election can't be held in May as it will be Ramadan.

"Next month will be very suitable to dissolve Parliament and the same time, the election must be held before Anwar is released from prison," he said when contacted.

At the time of writing, the prime minister and his deputy do not have any official visits overseas until April.

Barisan Nasional (BN) targets to win at least 148 parliamentary seats out of 222.

In the previous elections, BN won 133 parliamentary seats, while the opposition won 89.

Sources said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is working hard to deliver 148 parliamentary seats for BN in this coming election.

On Feb 9, Ahmad Zahid said BN will use the same strategies that proved successful in the 11th Sarawak state elections for GE14.

In the 2016 Sarawak polls, BN won big with 72 state seats out of 82.

Professor James Chin, the inaugural Director of the Asia Institute Tasmania, University of Tasmania, said: "The election should be held after the Chinese New Year and also before Anwar is released from prison. It is risky (for BN) if Anwar is allowed to campaign during the election."

In terms of civil servants, Ahmad Zahid has the Home Ministry, while Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussien has the Defence Ministry. Both the leaders and ministries also hold the voting bank of ex-servicemen from the police and army, respectively.

There are about 350,000 ex-servicemen in the country, out of which only about 172,000 are registered as voters.

In the 2013 general election, advance voting by police and army personnel and their spouses registered was 272, 387.

Pakatan Harapan knows time is really running out, as the election date is getting closer and must get its act together.