The guessing game over the dates on which the Malaysian Parliament will be dissolved is as good as over, according to The Star which reported that dissolution will likely occur on March 28, 29 or 30.
The newspaper stated that the report on the new electoral boundaries is expected to be given to all Members of Parliament by next week, and may be tabled as early as Monday.
A simple majority of 111 votes – with the number of lawmakers currently at 220 – is needed to have the proposal passed.
The fact that the motion need not go through Malaysia’s upper house of Parliament, the Dewan Negara, will shorten the time to enforce the redelineation, and is another reason why political pundits are targeting the end of March, The Star reported.
The passing of the redelineation will clear the way for the dissolution, with the expected dates to be between March 28 and 30.
Ruling coalition Barisan National’s (BN) choice of April 7 as the date when it will unveil its manifesto is another “giveaway,” according to the paper, which noted that it has been a practice of the coalition to present its manifesto after the dissolution in the past.
During the previous general election in 2013, BN launched its manifesto just three days after the lower house of parliament was dissolved.
The upcoming Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, may offer another hint.
Political analyst Prof Datuk Abdul Halim Sidek of Universiti Malaysia Kelantan told The Star that the end of March would be the right time to dissolve parliament since the Election Commission needs 30 days to hold an election.
“If it is the end of March, by the time polling takes place it will be early May. Whatever it is, the general election needs to be over by mid-May – before Muslims begin their fasting in the month of Ramadan,” he said.
The exact dates of Malaysia’s 14th General Election have been the topic of much speculation in recent months as June 24, the date when parliament will be automatically dissolved has drawn closer.
Current Prime Minister Najib Razak has remained secretive about the matter, stating at the end of January that the election will be called when he has a “spark of inspiration,” according to The Star.
The upcoming battle will pit his ruling BN coalition against opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) under 92-year-old former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Though his reputation took a hit in 2015 over the scandal involving sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, many observers think that Najib, who was eventually cleared of wrongdoing, is still in a strong position to win the election.