Umno calls for Malaysia Parliament to be dissolved soon for general election this year

Umno's top five leaders, (from left) vice-president Mahdzir Khalid, president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob, deputy president Mohamad Hasan and vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin. PHOTO: MOHAMED KHALED NORDIN/FACEBOOK

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia’s biggest political party Umno on Friday called for the Malaysian Parliament to be dissolved soon for the general election to be held this year.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob will seek an audience with the Malaysian King to propose a date for Parliament’s dissolution, Umno said in a statement after the party held three key meetings at its headquarters on Friday.

“Parliament must be dissolved soon to allow for the 15th General Election to be held this year,” Umno’s secretary-general Ahmad Maslan said, reading from a statement, at the party’s World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur headquarters.

This was the first time that PM Ismail has joined other party leaders in agreeing for the national polls to be held this year. He had previously said, when asked by reporters, that he needed to first work on post-Covid economic recovery. He was also understood to be keen to delay the polls previously to strengthen his position so that he could return as a PM candidate should Umno win at the hustings.

Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said the decision to call for polls this year was among several made in the Umno supreme council meeting late on Friday.

“As such, all party machinery at all levels are instructed to finalise their preparations to enter the dissolution phase until the general election,” he added.

Umno on Friday held its regular political bureau meeting - consisting of the key leaders from Malaysian states.

At around 4.30pm, the “top five” Umno leaders met for more than an hour to discuss possible election dates. 

They were Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, deputy president Mohamad Hasan, and three vice-presidents Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Mahdzir Khalid and the Prime Minister himself. Datuk Seri Mohamad posted on social media that “a consensus was reached for the party to move forward” at the meeting.

From around 8pm, Umno’s top decision making body, the supreme council, sat to discuss election preparations and possible polling dates. The council consists of some 50 senior party leaders with the meeting chaired by Zahid.

Zahid’s faction has been pushing for the polls to be held this year, as the opposition has continued to fail in efforts to put up a united front against the Umno-led Barisan Nasional coalition.

There are three main opposition camps: the Pakatan Harapan coalition led by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, the Perikatan Nasional alliance led by former premier Muhyiddin Yassin, and a third group led by former premier Mahathir Mohamad called Gerakan Tanah Air.

The opposition says it is against holding the polls in November, citing possible annual floods.

Malaysia’s national polls are not due until September 2023. The current Parliament will be automatically dissolved on July 16, five years after its first sitting in 2018.

The Election Commission would then have 60 days to mid-September to hold Malaysia’s 15th General Election.

But the sitting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail, can decide to dissolve Parliament any time, after getting the King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, to assent.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.