Malaysia’s general election will be held before the annual Haj pilgrimage season begins in July, prime minister Najib Razak hinted on Friday (February 2).
He was speaking to more than a thousand recipients of a special Haj programme sponsored by state investment fund 1MDB’s charitable foundation, Yayasan 1MDB.
“By July 14, two major events would have taken place. One is the Hari Raya Aidilfitri and the other is another raya,” said Najib, in a clear reference to pilihan raya which means elections in Malay.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri falls on Jun 15 this year, marking the end of the fasting month. The pilgrims are scheduled to leave for the Haj on July 14.
“So, when you are there (in the Holy Land), pray for the success and prosperity of the country in order to make Malaysia a model among Islamic nations,” Najib added.
Some people at the event, attended mainly by imams, community leaders and village chiefs, took it as an indication that the election will be held right after Hari Raya, while others believe that the polls are likely to be called before the fasting month begins in May.
“The hint he gave just now, it’s likely (the election) will be held just after Hari Raya. After that, they will (leave) for the Haj. There will be a short window there after Hari Raya,” said Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, a state assemblyman for Sarawak.
Last Friday, speaking after the UMNO supreme council meeting, Najib told the media that he’s still waiting for “the spark of inspiration”, before calling an election.
Sources within UMNO said the prime minister wants to wait for the redelineation exercise, the drawing of electoral boundaries, to be completed and tabled in Parliament.
The current term of Parliament expires on Jun 24 and the 14th general election must be held within 60 days after that date.