Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dr M: Early polls could break Umno

The Malaysian Insider) - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today factionalism and internal sabotage continues to plague the ruling coalition’s lynchpin, Umno, and warned that having national polls too soon may cost the party dearly.

This is the second time in recent months the former prime minister of 22 years has advised Barisan Nasional (BN) to hold off holding an early general election — previously predicted to take place during the November school holidays — by saying the time was not ripe.

The country’s fourth PM told reporters in Kota Kinabalu on May 7 the government has plenty of time to carry out its plans and choose suitable candidates to field for the 13th general election, adding it could stretch this until 2012.

The current mandate expires only in 2013 but political parties have been in election mode since the Sarawak state poll last April.

“If the general election is held now, Umno may lose big because the support and spirit has faded,” Dr Mahathir was reported as saying today by Bernama Online.

“Umno still has factions and the split is still critical. If there is awareness, a sense of gratitude and unity, BN can win,” the state news agency quoted him further.

Still-influential at 86, the politician urged his Umno colleagues to return to the party’s original fight to protect religion, race and country by casting aside self-interest to win the general election.

He advised Umno members to overcome their disappointment at not being picked for the general election, saying they still stood to gain in other ways.

BN lost its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority and four states, including wealthy Selangor and Penang, in Election 2008.


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