Election in Jun BN is out – Dr Ling Liong Sik

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KUALA LUMPUR, (May 14) — Barisan Nasional (BN) is unlikely to regain Selangor or win the next general election if Parliament is dissolved next month, former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik has said.

Dr Ling said that the federal coalition would not be “ready” by then as there were still a lot of “unsolved” issues affecting the present administration.
“The best time to have the GE is a debate without answers. When to hold GE? When you think it’s a good time, in reality it’s the contrary, so the chances of the 13th GE being held in June is not high,” he told Sin Chew daily in an interview published today.

“To be more accurate, BN is unsure whether it can win in the coming GE. I think, (BN is) not ready yet. Some say it’s June, but I don’t know if they dare to (hold elections in June), there are a lot of unsolved crisis,” said the former transport minister. Dr Ling also said that he was unconvinced that BN would wrest Selangor back from PR in the next GE. This, said the MCA leader, was because many opposition leaders in PR states were not bogged down with moral or corruption issues with the exception of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Dr Ling hailed Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Datuk Seri Khalid Ibrahim and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as examples of PR leaders untainted by corruption and abuses of power. He added that the implementation of a healthy two-party system in Malaysia was still viable based on his observations of the outcome of the March 2008 general elections. “But, this still depends on the quality of the opposition, if they are terrible, then there cannot be a true and effective implementation of a two party system.

“If they are very good like Penang…actually, DAP has been doing quite well, but then there was a squabble between DAP chairman Karpal Singh and Penang deputy chief minister Ramasamy,” he said. BN suffered its worst polls performance when it lost five states to PR back in 2008, under the leadership for then-Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

After taking over in 2009, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak set about making a slew of reform pledges, including liberalisation of the economy as well as a repeal of draconian laws such as the Internal Security Act (ISA), and even set up a bipartisan parliamentary committee to look into electoral reforms in Malaysia. Najib is expected to call for elections as soon as this June after months of delivering one-off aid payments throughout the country as well as having unveiled his administration’s minimum wage policy last week.

“I think BN can still win, because the government is spending money non-stop under different names, and this has never happened before,” he told Sin Chew in an exclusive interview. Recently, the government has been spending heavily on various schemes to aid the public, including book vouchers for students and Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M).

A recent poll showed that the prime minister’s approval rating has surged by 10 per centage points to 69 per cent on the back of an improving economy and the cash handouts of RM500 to low-income households under BR1M. Pollsters Merdeka Center found that the prime minister’s support was highest among households earning less than RM1,500 a month at 78 per cent, with four-fifths of Indians and 74 per cent of Malays also giving Najib the thumbs up. However Dr Ling thinks that the effect of the BR1M aid on voters has “long faded”.

The former MCA president acknowledged the perception that Chinese voters did not view BN favourably. “Generally speaking, Chinese are not good towards BN, but in Perlis there is no other choice (besides BN), (BN) may also lack support in Johor, but not to the point of losing,” he was quoted as saying by Sin Chew.

Dr Ling said, however, that a failure to keep a supermajority in Parliament would not be a big problem, as he found nothing wrong with the public’s desire for change. “A lot of things will change, the past example (March 2008) proved that things improved when there was a change, what’s the problem (with change)?” “I think BN knows what kind of results they will face, they know this is a very hard battle,” he said, stressing that “this time the general elections is very hard and difficult for BN.” – TMI