GE14 possibly March or April next year: Rafizi

19 Dec 2016 / 00:01 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli (pix) is anticipating that the 14th General Election (GE14) will be called as soon as March or April next year, with Barisan Nasional (BN) seeking to capitalise on the currently fractured Opposition.
Rafizi said this is because Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak announced that the government will be taking over PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's private members bill to strengthen the Syariah Courts, indicating that Umno is cooperating with the Islamist party.
"During the recent Umno General Assembly, the party seems to be appealing to hardcore PAS members and supporters who hate DAP.
"If you read between the lines, it's clear that the most important thing right now for Umno is to create three-cornered fights in marginal seats," he said when launching Invoke's Vote Protection Initiative today.
Rafizi said Umno can merely pay lip service to PAS by tabling Hadi's bill in Parliament but the party gains support as a result, splitting the Opposition votes while giving BN easy wins in marginal seats.
He further said Umno traditionally only holds a GE after the Election Commission's (EC) redelineation proposals have been pushed through but the party may forgo it and focus on splitting Opposition votes instead.
The PKR vice-president said there are currently 30 marginal Parliamentary seats, with the majority of them in Kedah and Johor, which could prove beneficial to BN.
These include Segamat, currently held by MIC president and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam, and MCA president and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai's Bentong seat.
Meanwhile, Rafizi said Invoke will have to push its plans to mass recruit Polling Agents, Counting Agents (PACA) forward and start by January due to the early GE projections.
He said this initiative is to prevent voting fraud during GE14, especially in the 30 marginal seats identified earlier, where he said will likely happen.
"About 10,000 volunteers have already registered with Invoke, some of whom already have experience being PACA, but we will need 9,000 trained PACA by the time GE14 comes around," Rafizi said.
Asked about the progress of seat negotiations between Pakatan Harapan and PPBM, he said formal negotiations will start on Dec 20 and he is confident that it will be resolved amicably if all parties can agree to field only winnable candidates.
Rafizi added that Pakatan Harapan and PPBM will continue to engage PAS but stressed that the Opposition needs to prepare for snap polls soon.

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