Malaysia's state of Penang may hold snap elections soon, as chief minister faces graft charges

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's state of Penang may be heading for a snap election soon, as the state's ruling Democratic Action Party (DAP) postpones its party elections.

A decision to hold snap polls in the state was made at the DAP's central executive committee (CEC) meeting on Monday (July 18) night, according to Pakatan Harapan sources from Selangor.

Details of the meeting are unavailable, but it is learnt that six DAP leaders went to present their case to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at her Bukit Segambut home in Kuala Lumpur after the meeting.

It is understood that Datuk Seri Wan Azizah was non-committal about going along with the radical decision, but she has called for a PKR political bureau meeting on Tuesday night, when Lim is expected to brief top PKR leaders on his party's case for snap elections. 

PKR leaders from Penang have been asked to attend and give their feedback.

The snap election is widely seen as a move to validate Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's position in the light of the corruption charges that he is fighting in court.

The then Pakatan Rakyat had won the state in 2013 with a convincing two-thirds majority. DAP secured 19 seats, PKR, 10 and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), one. The state opposition Umno won 10 seats.

It is understood that PKR leaders are worried about what public opinion will be regarding a snap election in Penang.

This time, the coalition will be going in as Pakatan Harapan, without PAS in the picture.

However, sources said that the DAP has assured PAS that Amanah would not contest against PAS in their sole Penang seat, Permatang Pasir.

Meanwhile, the DAP has postponed its elections in order to focus on preparations for the 14th general election, which needs to be held by Aug 2018.

National organising secretary Anthony Loke said the central executive committee (CEC) had unanimously agreed at its meeting on Monday to invoke Clause VIII (1) of the party's Constitution.

This allows the CEC to postpone the party congress for a period not exceeding 18 months if it is within two years of Parliament's automatic dissolution.

The current CEC's term of office runs until Sept 29 this year.

"Although there will be no party election this year, a national conference is scheduled to be held on Dec 4," Mr Loke said in a statement on Tuesday (July 19).