KUALA LUMPUR: Parliament is dissolved, the prime minister has announced, paving the way for the 14th general election (GE14) on the back of major realignments in political alliances on both sides of the divide.
“His Majesty (the Agong) has agreed to the dissolution of the Parliament from tomorrow, Saturday, April 7, 2018,” Najib Razak said today in a special speech broadcast live on public television channels, and attended by cabinet members.
A total of 222 parliamentary seats and 505 state seats are at stake.
The Election Commission will now set a date for accepting nomination of candidates, followed by two to three weeks of campaigning, based on past practice.
Earlier in his speech today, Najib underlined seven achievements under his leadership.
He said these include an economic growth of 5.9%, “among the highest in the world”, and the government’s embrace of moderate Islam while not subscribing to an understanding that is “too liberal and loose”.
“So why then the claim that Malaysia is a failed state?” he asked.
This will be Najib’s second general election as prime minister since taking over from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2009, following Barisan Nasional’s (BN) losses a year earlier.
It will also be BN’s second attempt at regaining its two-third majority lost in 2008, though many believe this will be impossible in the face of an opposition buoyed by the presence of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
On the opposition front, several new parties will go to the polls for the first time, including Amanah, the PAS splinter party formed in 2015, and Warisan, the Sabah-based party led by former Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal.
Today’s dissolution of Parliament also comes 24 hours after the dissolution of PPBM, following a decision by the Registrar of Societies giving the party a month to fulfil several conditions to avoid permanent deregistration.