PETALING JAYA: Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says it’s up to Prime Minister Najib Razak if elections will be called after the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, slated to run from Aug 19 to 30.
Khairy, who is also Umno Youth chief, told Channel NewsAsia today that Malaysians would celebrate the country’s 60th Merdeka Day on Aug 31.
“Then, you know, it’s up to the prime minister,” he said in an exclusive interview with the Singapore news agency.
This follows widespread speculation on the timing of the 14th general election (GE14), which must be called by August 2018.
The popular view is that it will be held between September and November this year. Those who support this position say Najib will take advantage of the “feel good” factor attributed to a series of national celebrations, Malaysia’s hosting of the SEA Games and a national budget for 2018 which is expected to be populist.
Analysts have been divided on the issue, with some saying that Najib will wait until next year and others saying that the prime minister will call for GE14 sooner rather than later.
Regardless of when the election will be called, Khairy said Umno is already making preparations within the party.
“I think we want to make sure our machinery is as efficient and as well-oiled as possible so by the time Parliament is dissolved, we’ll have a rolling start and make sure everything’s already in place for us to start campaigning,” he told Channel NewsAsia.
This is in line with previous statements by Najib, who is Barisan Nasional chairman and Umno president.
“GE14 can be held this year or next year. Whether this year or next year, we will still win. We have sharpened the sword,” he told reporters on April 14.