Analysts: Snap polls may be the solution, but not morally right

by AFIQ AZIZ/ graphic by MZUKRI

THERE is a possibility of the country having snap polls to resolve the current political impasse, but it may not be morally right as Malaysia is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Universiti Utara Malaysia political lecturer Prof Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said snap elections are normal in Western countries in the case of a stalemate, but it would cost up to half a billion ringgit to be carried out.

“General election (GE) is the best way to get people to cast their vote whenever a party only has marginal support.

“But, the question is (whether) Malaysia is ready for this kind of new norm. We only face GE once (every) five years. We do not have a snap polls tradition (ever) before.

“I think it is at best for politicians to use their backdoor channels to sort this out. But, they need to give and take,” Mohd Azizuddin told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Perikatan Nasional (PN) government is the first in history to have a razor-thin majority in the Dewan Rakyat. It currently has support of 114 MPs out of 222 lawmakers.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Geostrategist Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Hassan said the main issue faced by the PN government is legitimacy, as it was not formed through a GE.

He said the call for snap polls is imminent for PN, as they are unable to run the office smoothly under current circumstances.

“As we can see the support for the PN bloc and Pakatan Harapan from the MPs is about 50-50, the government will need to get the people’s mandate.

“Given this factor, either the government is ready or not for a snap election, they will have to propose to dissolve the Parliament,” Azmi told TMR in a telephone interview yesterday.

He said the stalemate is unlikely to happen again if a new government is formed through election.

“Once this is done, I believe that the (politicians) jumping ship will not recur because the new government has gained the people’s mandate.

“Unlike now, the government was not formed via the ballot box,” he said.

Commenting on the possibility of having a GE during the recovery phase of the pandemic, Azmi believes Malaysia could follow South Korea’s suit which held its legislative election in April.

“I believe that we can do it if the people can observe the standard operating procedures accordingly,” he said, adding that the campaign period may also need to be shortened and done online, instead of holding big gatherings.