On the 10th of October, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the dissolution of Parliament. This means that GE15 will be taking place within the next 60 days. While the date has not been announced by the Election Commission yet, many Malaysians have voiced their disgruntlement towards an election being called right smack in what potentially could be a period of heavy floods across the country, as we experienced during monsoon season last year.
We unpack the politics of #UndiBanjir with Iskandar Fareez of REFSA.
Overall, Iskandar states that the dissolution of Parliament was not unpredictable, due to the ongoing rift between UMNO’s president and the Prime Minister; Ismail Sabril (as the first Prime Minister who is not the political party’s president) had been facing pressure to dissolve parliament from the very start of his tenure, and despite his best efforts to extend it. This weakness, alongside his lack of boldness in pushing for reforms such as fixed parliamentary terms and political financing has also left him a unfulfilled legacy.
UMNO has largely believed the election is better held sooner rather than later, due to factors such as the upcoming recession and economic slowdown. The timing of the election has been ill-advised by numerous parties due to the flooding season, this alongside UMNO heads facing various court charges gives the impression of the push for election being a matter of personal interest rather than political strategy.
UMNO has a weak front leading up to the upcoming election, with a lack of support base even compared to during GE14 as well as tenuous relationships between Perikatan Nasional and Bersatu. While it cannot be discounted that they may rally together in time for GE15, there still exists the toxic belief of one party needing to play the dominant role, as well as a possible overinflated impression of their strength.
Meanwhile, Pakatan Harapan has to regain the trust of its voters and defeat its perception as a failing administration during their term if it aims to succeed in GE15. This, alongside championing for brave and bold reforms, ensuring voter education, as well as forming a united front will be vital to their cause. Voter education is especially vital to increase voter participation, making sure their voices are heard and democracy is at hand, ensuring the next administration is one that represents the interests of the people rather than one that is instated by default. The past few years have been indicative of dire socioeconomic consequences brought by flawed administrations compounded upon COVID-19, and more than anything the people are seeking for leaders who understand their problems and can find solutions to address them; progressive parties need to comprehend this and come up with a solution that is deliverable to the voters.
Ultimately, whatever decision comes forth is at the hand of the voters. Iskandar ends with a call to action for the rakyat to participate in the process to pick the right people to helm the country, and that no matter where one’s political affiliations lie, the opportunity to vote should not be wasted.
Produced by: Dashran Yohan
Presented by: Dashran Yohan