Next general election: DAP to continue gearing up fro the election with July targeted as the month for parliament dissolution

Press Statement
by Kerk Kim Hock

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): After meeting the DAP delegation comprising myself, Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai and Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun yesterday, the Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Abdul Rashid met the Press and he was quoted in the China Press Dailynews today as saying that the next general election would be held a year from yesterday.

He was reported to say that in the past, the government would give the Election Commission a six months’signal “.

We were also told that this is a notice to ensure that the Election Commission are totally ready for an election.

I had on 10.10.2002, while opening the DAP FT Federal Territory State Convention, predicted that the next general election would be held after the Prime Minister has retired on 31.10.2003.

However, at the recent DAP National Conference held on 12.1.2003, I warned that there had been increasing speculation that the Prime Minister might just do the illogical and dissolve the Parliament in July. this year.

It is indeed only logical that the Prime Minister, after announcing his date of retirement, should allow his successor Datuk Abdullah Badawi to lead the next electoral battle and seek the necessary mandate for himself and his new policies.

Nevertheless, the increasing intra and inter Barisan Nasional (BN ) component parties divisions, especially the internal Umno power tussles, will be a key factor which may influence the Prime Minister to decide to call an early general election before he retires so that he can personally lead the battle and ensure the BN’s chances of a landslide win ..

The DAP must therefore continue to gear up for the next general election, with July this year as the targeted date for the next general election, especially when we have received information that the Barisan Nasional has started to make electoral preparations with July as their targeted month for Parliament dissolution.

In fact, there are four interesting signs which should be noted:

1. Till today, the Prime Minister has not denied the speculation that the Parliament may be dissolved before his retirement

2. That the Election Commission has planned to “ rush “ to present the electoral boundary changes to the Parliament in late March this year even though it could always wait till the July parliament session

3. That the Election Commission has openly said that the new electoral rolls will be ready in June, indicating its readiness for an early general election

4. That although the Umno Vice Presidents Tan Sri Mohamad Taib and Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak have said that the next general election should not be held until the Election Commission has totally cleaned up the electoral rolls, the Election Commission has clarified that the Prime Minister’s allegation that there are 2.8.million “ questionable voters’ do not mean that these people are phantom voters, thus destroying the perception that the Election Commission will take a long time to .clean up the rolls

Perhaps what is interesting is that despite the fact that the Election Commission has yet to receive a “hint” from the government about an impending election, the Election Commission has started to discuss and plan electoral expenses and manpower requirement about a week ago..


* Kerk Kim Hock, DAP Secretary General and MP for Kota Melaka