KUALA LUMPUR: The wait is nearly over. The momentum for the 14th General Election (GE14) enters its final lap this month, with the polling day likely to take place in the first few days of May.
Signs of a May polls are quite clear: Parliament could be dissolved as early as the end of this week after the current session ends on April 5.
Upon the dissolution of Parliament and state assemblies, elections must be held within 60 days.
In practice, elections are held, within 29 days of dissolution.
This means that the polling day for GE14 would be in the first week of May, with the results to be known within hours after voting ends.
Some 14.8 million people are eligible to vote in the election.
In the run-up to the polls, Barisan Nasional had slated April 7 as the release of its main election manifesto at a mammoth rally in Bukit Jalil here.
This would be followed by the release of a BN manifesto focusing on youth on April 10, its Youth wing’s chief, Khairy Jamaluddin, said yesterday.
Some 30,000 BN supporters were expected to attend the April 7 event, which starts at 8pm. It will be televised live.
BN traditionally releases its manifesto after the election is called. This will be followed by the announcement of its candidates, this time to be held well before nomination day.
BN leaders and workers are bracing for a hectic month.
“Things will be busier after next week,” one senior Umno official told NSTP.
A key consideration in the run-up to GE14 is the Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation of constituencies, which was approved by the Dewan Rakyat last week.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V had given his royal assent to the redelineation, which will then be gazetted.
EC chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah had said the new boundaries could be gazetted in just a few days after the royal assent was obtained.
With new boundaries marked, the list of candidates being finalised and the election machinery in place, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would then advise the king to dissolve Parliament.
The announcement of the dissolution could be held as early as April 6, a day before Najib unveils the BN manifesto, which would carry his party’s pledges for the next five years.
This is the second time Najib, who would mark his ninth year
as prime minister on April 3, is leading BN into the general election.
Najib, who had been keeping a gruelling work schedule, was expected to deliver a keynote address to senior civil servants on April 4 before flying to Sarawak for an overnight trip.
He will stop in Miri, Marudi and Bintulu for a series of events before returning to Kuala Lumpur on April 5.
Universiti Teknologi Mara senior lecturer Associate Professor Datuk Dr Ismail Sualman, said it was time that the government obtained a mandate from the voters.
“The longer this is delayed, the more issues will crop up, including fake news.
“I think the nomination of candidates will take place on April 21, while polling day is on May 5,” he said.
Sungai Besar member of parliament Budiman Mohd Zohdi, however, predicted that the dissolution of Parliament would take place next Friday.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia geostrategist Associate Professor Dr Azmi Hassan said April 4 could be the date Najib dissolved Parliament, as it would happen a day after his ninth anniversary as prime minister.
He believed there were no more outstanding issues, given that the Dewan Rakyat had approved the redelineation of electoral boundaries, and that the economy was on solid footing.
“The redelineation of borders is the indicator of when the date (of Parliament’s dissolution) will be.
“With the Election Commission ready, the announcement of candidates could be held a week after Parliament is dissolved. We could even see a minimum campaign period of 11 days.”