KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli has claimed that Umno is pushing for the general election (GE15) this year due to falling support for the party among Malay voters.
Rafizi cited a recent survey by his party that found that Malay support for Umno had slumped from 27 per cent to 18 per cent.
“This is the reason why Umno wants to hold the next general election in November.
“Based on our survey of 2,500 Malay voters, support for Umno at the beginning of August was 27 per cent, before the littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal went viral and ex-prime minister Najib Razak went to prison.
“If the support was so strong, it would not matter if the election was held in November or next February or April,” Rafizi was quoted as saying during an “Ayuh Malaysia” campaign last night by Malaysiakini today.
Rafizi said the Opposition’s main concern was that holding the elections during the monsoon season would put many lives at risk and reduce both manpower and funds to help flood victims.
“Due to climate change, this year’s floods could be the worst one yet. We should be focusing on how many boats are needed for the floods and the number of schools needed for emergency shelters.
“Instead, the government wants to risk it all by considering holding the election in November,” he said.
Previously, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi argued that the elections will not take away the prime minister’s power to tackle the floods even if Parliament was dissolved.
“In terms of powers and controlling floods during the monsoon season, the prime minister still has the powers, and it would be difficult for the Opposition to shine during this period.
“The Opposition feels stressed about this (scenario). The Opposition is unable to compete on a level playing field with the ruling parties when Parliament is dissolved.
“The Opposition does not have this advantage and this makes them worried,” the Umno president said.
Earlier, Rafizi launched a petition to urge against holding the elections during this year’s monsoon season.
On Friday, Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan said the party’s supreme council had agreed that Parliament should be dissolved soon to pave the way for elections to be held by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is also one of Umno’s vice-presidents, is expected to propose a date to the Agong for the dissolution of Parliament.