KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — Malaysia will be more likely to hold its 15th general election (GE15) next year, instead of in the next few months, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke reportedly predicted.
Loke cited the increase in the overnight policy rate (OPR) recently announced by Bank Negara Malaysia — which translates to both higher borrowing costs and higher interests for savings — and inflation as factors why a general election is unlikely in the next few months.
Loke was also reported as saying that it was unlikely that Parliament would be dissolved — which would be a required step for general elections — before the current government tables the national Budget in the Dewan Rakyat in late October, as there would be no political advantage for the ruling party.
According to Malay Mail’s check of Parliament’s website, the finance minister is scheduled to table the Budget in the Dewan Rakyat on October 28, with debates on the Budget in the Dewan Rakyat to take place throughout November and until early December. The Budget 2023 is then scheduled to be debated in the Dewan Negara from December 12 to December 15, with the minister to reply on December 19 to 20 and with other Bills scheduled for December 21 to December 22.
“The year-end period is also very limited. I don’t think it is feasible as far as flood risks are concerned,” Loke was quoted as saying in an interview with news portal The Vibes.
Loke instead said general elections would be likely held next year either between February and March — which would be after the Chinese New Year celebrations in late January and before the Muslims’ fasting month of Ramadan expected to start late March, or in May — which would be after the Hari Raya festival is celebrated in late April.
In the interview, Loke said that party members of DAP have already been told to be ready, stating: “We have to be prepared. There is no such thing as being fully ready, but we just have to be prepared. Some physical preparation has already started, but you never know when (the election will be called).”
Back in April which was shortly after he became DAP secretary-general following party polls in March, Loke had stressed that DAP members and DAP leaders must be prepared to face any eventualities and also be ready by August this year whether or not GE15 takes place.
Loke had at that time also pointed out that the Memorandum of Understanding between the federal government and the Opposition pact Pakatan Harapan only stated that the general elections shall not take place before July 31, 2022 but did not state that elections must take place in August this year.
Malaysia’s general election is held every five years, but can be called earlier by the prime minister. GE15 is due to be held by September 2023.