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MALAYSIAN SNAP POLLS LIKELY DELAYED?

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Datuk Seri Najib Razak is likely to delay calling snap polls until end of this year or early 2012 as his party hunts for funds to finance a campaign to court Bumiputera and Indian voters and secure a two-thirds parliamentary majority.
The Malaysian Insider understands that Umno’s coffers are depleted after the National Front (BN) spent some RM500 million for the April 16 Sarawak election. It is learnt that tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary is among the very few to contribute, partly explaining his conglomerate scooping lucrative deals this past year.
  • “United malay National Organisation (Umno) is looking for contributions as it takes a fair bit to run an election campaign. Until then, there won’t be an election,” a BN source told The Malaysian Insider. He pointed out that money was slow to reach the ground in Election 2008, prompting party workers to slacken which led to BN’s historic losses of the two-third parliamentary majority and four states to Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
  • Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told The Malaysian Insider that he believes Umno’s increasingly ultra-Malay stance as well as the emergence of a sex video aimed at discrediting PR’s image are definite signs that general elections will be called by August.
  • “I would say anywhere before puasa (fasting month), before August. If not, immediately after fasting month,” Anwar said.
But BN insiders say Najib is cautious about calling elections soon as he wants to regain the coalition’s two-thirds parliamentary majority which now appears impossible with the Chinese snub continuing in the Sarawak election.
Najib told the Chinese community yesterday to either support MCA or lose representation in a BN government. MCA won 15 out of the 40 federal seats and 31 out of 90 state seats in Election 2008.
  • “BN is working on the Bumiputera and Indian voters now. Chinese votes will be a bonus now after his statement yesterday,” another BN source told The Malaysian Insider.
  • The BN source said the coalition is also not getting much support from Chinese tycoons and businessmen who used to contribute funds when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Badawi held power.
  • He said there were fewer projects to hand out by the government and Perkasa’s Malay rights movement has also pushed the Najib administration to favour more Malay businessmen in the past few years.
  • Among the Malay businessmen taking the limelight is Syed Mokhtar, whose various interests have bagged the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project, Pos Malaysia Berhad and a 10-year extension of the lucrative rice distribution project under Bernas. The other Malay businesses include the Naza group, Westar and several Umno-linked conglomerates.
  • The BN source also said Najib will also wait as Budget 2011 was not friendly to 1.2 million-strong federal civil service. Lower-ranking staff only received RM500 bonus in the budget although they were expecting at least one-month’s bonus.
  • The lack of bonus in Budget 2008 was said to have contributed to BN’s loss in the general election that year.
  • “He’ll wait to present an election budget that is good for civil servants and the people,” the source added.
  • Umno insiders said the Chinese snub will also delay Najib from getting his own mandate.
  • “He wants his own mandate but he also wants to make sure its two-thirds. Anything less is a failure,” an Umno warlord told The Malaysian Insider.
He pointed out that while BN won 55 out of 71 seats in Sarawak, its share of the popular vote went down nearly 8 percentage points from 62.93 to 55.24 per cent.
“The popular vote is a factor too. We have to work the ground to reach out, especially to the Chinese,” he added.
Source: The Malaysian Insider
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