KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — Umno is expected to call a special supreme council meeting tomorrow night, a source privy to the party’s developments said today.
The meeting will take place amid widespread speculation that Parliament will be dissolved within the week.
“Tomorrow night, there will be a special Umno supreme council meeting,” the source told Malay Mail when contacted.
The meeting is expected to take place after the party’s political bureau meeting in the evening.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has been under increasing pressure to hold the 15th general election (GE15) soonest, with Umno leaders being upbeat that the Malay nationalist party can secure a landslide mandate, given a flagging Opposition and voter fatigue.
Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who is in charge of parliamentary affairs and law, had in August, announced the rescheduling of the tabling of Budget 2023 from October 28 to October 7, amid speculation about an early election at the time.
He explained that the decision was made by Ismail Sabri who used his authority under Rule 11(2) of the Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Order.
Ismail Sabri has not given any reason for the date change, only telling reporters who queried him on that matter, that it was “normal” to do so and citing the precedent by fifth prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The Dewan Rakyat sitting was initially scheduled to take place between October 28 and December 15.
The current government has until September next year to call a general election, but Umno leaders have been vocally pushing for polls to be held this year to leverage Barisan Nasional’s (BN) landslide victories in the Johor and Melaka state polls.
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in particular, has been leading the pressure to dissolve Parliament, despite being met with criticisms from both the Opposition as well as Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) leaders, who have warned of the toll it would have on voters, particularly during the monsoon season.
Ahmad Zahid, however, said the concerns expressed by BN’s rivals were just the latest in a litany of excuses designed to mask their real fear of being rejected by voters at the ballot box.
Thus, he said the “concerns” of BN’s rivals about the floods were not a “new excuse” but instead a bid to save their political careers.
On October 7, the government tabled the much-anticipated Budget 2023, widely viewed as an election one.
Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz unveiled a record RM372.340 billion federal spending plan for next year, surpassing this year’s Budget by RM40 billion.
Ismail Sabri’s government also doubled on spending for social assistance and subsidies from just 5.2 per cent under Budget 2022 to 11.3 per cent under next year’s operating expenditure, a move that pundits have already anticipated given the likely proximity of the general election.