KONGRES PKR ...LIVE !!! -----> cakkk kat sebelah
Hari terakhir perbahasan Kongres LIVE .... !!!!
Jadual 3 hari KONGRES - DISINI

HOME [no2umno]

Feb 14, 2008

Badawi Elections

Malaysia heads for polls amid ethnic, economic woes

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dissolved parliament Wednesday to pave the way for snap polls held at a time of mounting racial tensions which are expected to erode his majority.

As well as friction among the multi-ethnic population, Abdullah's popularity has plummeted as the nation grapples with unprecedented street protests, anger over rising fuel and food prices, and high crime rates.

Announcing that the king had consented to dissolve parliament, the premier indicated he did not expect a repeat of the 2004 landslide when the Barisan Nasional coalition seized 90 percent of parliamentary seats.

"2004 was a special election and it was extraordinary. I pray that BN will get at least two-thirds of the votes in the upcoming election," he told a press conference.

"I hope voters will understand the issues affecting our country objectively," he said, adding that the Election Commission would decide on the polling date.

Voting must be held 60 days after parliament is dissolved, but the government traditionally allows just a two-week campaign period, which would mean a ballot in early March.

Abdullah appealed for calm during the campaign in an apparent reference to a string of public rallies over the past few months which police have broken up with tear gas and water cannon.

"My hope is that during the voting, nothing untoward will happen -- there will be no disturbances or trouble that will affect the voting process," he said.

Abdullah heads the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which leads the Barisan Nasional multi-racial coalition that holds 200 of the 219 seats in parliament. It has been in power since independence a half-century ago.

The Chinese-based Democratic Action Party (DAP) holds 12 seats, the fundamentalist Islamic party PAS has six and Keadilan, which is led by the wife of dissident former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim, has one seat.

Anwar attacked the timing of the election, which is being called well ahead of a May 2009 deadline and just a month before he is allowed to stand for office under a ban imposed when he was sacked and jailed in 1998.

"It is shameful that Prime Minister Abdullah would choose to call the elections (now)," he said during a visit to Hong Kong.

"The so-called elections are certainly not fair or free. There is no access to the media in Malaysia, the list of voters is still being challenged and there are hundreds and thousands of phantom voters," he said.

In the next elections there will be 222 seats up for grabs due to the creation of new constituencies. The assemblies in the 12 states and territories will also be contested.

Abdullah's popularity rating has plunged from 91 percent when he took power to 61 percent last December, according to research firm Merdeka Center.

"I imagine they will do well but not as well as last elections," said political analyst and UMNO-watcher Shamsul Amri Baharuddin from the National University of Malaysia.

"The last election was based on expectations -- this one is based on his performance in the last four years," he said.

In 2004, the government rode a wave of optimism surrounding Abdullah, who had taken over the year before from veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled with an iron fist for 22 years.

However since then, the premier has been criticised as weak and unable to carry out key elections promises like ridding the country of corruption which plagues business and politics.

PAS secretary-general Kamaruddin Jaafar said the opposition parties expected to do well in the polls.

"I foresee that we will see a substantial swing towards the opposition, especially among the non-Malays, who are very unhappy with the economic situation, crime rate and the overall lack of direction that Abdullah's leadership has shown," he told AFP.

Abdullah has admitted that previously staunch support from the nation's ethnic Indians will likely melt away after unprecedented protests last year against discrimination at the hands of Muslim Malays.

Five Indian activists who organised the rallies have been jailed under draconian internal security legislation which allows for indefinite detention without trial.


Posting terkini

Blog Archive