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The shockwaves of Umno’s former chief Najib Razak becoming Malaysia’s first ex-premier to land in jail continues to reverberate across the political sphere, with the ruling party rallying its grassroots leadership to push for a royal pardon.
But such a call faces opposition from civil society, who say Najib should serve time after being convicted for graft related to the 1MDB scandal.
Umno has also called for Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to hold polls as soon as possible. The government has refused to commit to a date, but it did move up the tabling of next year’s budget by three weeks to Oct 7. This paves the way for elections to be held in November before the annual monsoon floods at the year-end.
While Umno is confident of reclaiming dominance after its shock 2018 defeat, the real test of its renewal efforts will be an attempt to wrest back Malaysia’s richest state Selangor. This effort will be headlined by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, who will be making his electoral debut.
Meanwhile there is some good news for Singapore, as Malaysia is set to lift the export ban on fresh chicken in October, although this will only be permitted for approved farms.
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Budget 2023 to be tabled earlier, paving way for polls
The decision comes as the ruling party Umno is expected to press the PM to dissolve Parliament as soon as possible.
Umno chief holds mass party meeting to push for early polls
Zahid, who is facing 47 graft charges, denied that he wanted to push for early polls because he was afraid of being convicted.
From prime minister to prisoner, the rise and fall of Najib Razak
Najib was born into the ruling elite, as the son of Malaysia's second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein.
Najib supporters' push for royal pardon draws opposition
Electoral watchdog Bersih has launched a petition urging the King not to grant Najib a royal pardon.
Selected farms can resume exporting chicken
Only certain farms will be given permits to export so as not to disrupt supply for domestic consumption.
Zafrul's GE entry shows Umno seeking renewal
The finance minister's expected political debut is part of Umno's strategy to field fresh faces and challenge the perception of BN as a tired, old coalition.