The Election Guessing Game: Najib needs Divine Help


March 28, 2013

The Election Guessing Game: Najib needs Divine Help

by Jeswan Kaur@http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

A nation’s election is a litmus test that reveals the aptitude of politicians; but for Malaysia, elections have become a ground for politicians to make false promises, cheat and engage in corrupt acts.

PRU-13

Not only that, Malaysia might just be the one and only nation where politicians treat elections like a circus, hopping onto different bandwagons as and when timing dictates.It is also in Malaysia that politicians dastardly underestimate the rakyat, treating voters at their whims and fancies.

Najib needs divine helpAnd after 55 years of independence, leaders of this beautiful country continue to disrespect the 28 million Malaysians as is being done by the current unelected Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who is busy keeping them in the dark about the status  of the 13th general election.

Despite repeated calls for Najib to declare a date when the next general election will take place, he remains indifferent and irresponsible towards the rakyat, contradicting his claim of having the rakyat’s best interest at heart.

Judging by the Premier’s refusal to announce the election date, there is little reason for the rakyat to be convinced that the leader who keeps proclaiming that “people first” is worthy of their trust.

The election guessing game is wearing everyone out but Najib continues with his nonchalant stance.Even the call by political analysts that Najib should follow the move by his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard to declare elections earlier has fallen on deaf ears.

Either arrogance or desperation seems to be Najib’s current preoccupation, so much so that he has forgotten his duties and accountability towards the rakyat when it involves the nation’s fate.

Rakyat must make the right choice

The election hide-and-seek that Najib is taking pleasure in must teach the rakyat a lesson – that there is little the people can expect from a politician who continues to belittle their anticipation of the coming general election.

Two months ago Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah hit the nail on the head when he remarked that waiting for the announcement of the 13th general election is “unfair for all parties” and is a “lesson that must be learned by all”.

“An ideal situation is the US system where it (election date) is stated in the datuk saifuddin abdullahConstitution. Everyone has no choice but to follow the date.In the Malaysian context, it is too late for GE13 but we may be able to do something for GE14. It is bad for investors, tiring for politicians, and unfair for the rakyat if the wait is too long.Our system and Australia’s is almost the same. The date for election is not fixed by the constitution but by the government. In this case, Gillard announced it early and we should follow suit,” Saifuddin had said.

Two months later and Najib continues to play Russian roulette in determining the country’s well-being.

Najib, BN lacking confidence

Using its position as the Federal government, the Barisan Nasional coalition continues to yield the upper hand by delaying the general election date; Malaysia serves as a classic example where the BN government witholds information on when the elections will be held.

The never-ending guessing game being played by the Najib leadership in sharing the election date with the voters is also a sign of the BN administration’s faltering confidence in facing the coming general election, slated to be its most challenging thus far.

Speak OutBN’s lack of confidence is not the rakyat’s concern – what bothers the people is that the continued delays in announcing the election date will only cause them hardship when it comes to applying for leave to vote or serve as election monitors to ensure the elections are held in a free and fair manner.

In this respect, Najib who is also BN chief is on a wicked ‘mischief’ when with each passing day he refuses to disclose the election date; it is his desperate tactic to deny the opposition Pakatan Rakyat alliance ample time and opportunity to do their homework in preparing for and facing the 13th general election.

At the BN supreme council meeting which Najib chaired in January this year, the Premier had said that the distribution of seats among BN component parties and the list of candidates for the 13th general election had almost been finalised.

But on the pretext of buying more time, Najib claimed that the selection needed further scrutiny to make sure the candidates were of the right choice, not just from the aspect of capability but acceptance in the constituency they would be contesting.

“We will decide and make the announcement. There are some views that we need to discuss but have not made any decision yet.

Asked then of the possibility that Parliament would be dissolved simultaneously with the Johor state assembly on March 21, this was what Najib had to say:

“We will know when the time comes. We are still guessing, never mind go ahead and guess. I like this guessing game.”

While the rakyat keeps wondering when the 13th general election will finally take place, Najib continues to shift gears in placating the people, trying all means possible to “buy” their trust.

Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.

Who is the Enemy?: Certainly not us Malaysians


March 28, 2013

Who is the Enemy?: Certainly not us Malaysians

Kua Kia Soongby Dr. Kua Kia Soong@http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT: As the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, GDAMS 3.0 (April 15, 2013) approaches, it is time for Malaysians to ask: Who are Malaysia’s enemies and what appropriate weaponry do we need?

One would think this is the first question the Ministry of Defence should ask in the multi-billion decisions to procure armaments now that the arms merchants are here again for LIMA 2013. Yet our National Defence Policy has never even been properly debated in Parliament.

Just a few months ago, the Ministry of Defence would not have said that Malaysia’s enemies were among the Suluks who have been coming back and forth between Southern Philippines and Sabah all these years.

After all, hadn’t we helped to train MNLF fighters there against Marcos in hishammuddin-hussein-in-lahad-datu-300x225the seventies? Wasn’t this the reason why the Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein(right) said that the invaders at Lahad Datu were “neither militants nor terrorists” during the two or three weeks that they were already there?

And haven’t we got a “Rapid Deployment Force” (10 Paratrooper Brigade) ready to be dispatched to any flashpoint? One wonders what flashpoint scenarios they are trained for?  Are they ready to be deployed only when there are secessionists fighting to take East Malaysia out of the federation? They certainly hadn’t been prepared for the Sulu Sultan’s army to “turn”.

Don’t be surprised if the “defence analysts” in the Ministry have now shredded all their previous analyses about Malaysia’s perceived “enemies”. With the new-found enemies of the Malaysian state, the arms lobby has at last found a raison detre for their fabulous arms procurements.

Heck, didn’t we finally get the chance to use our F18 fighter bombers and Hawk 208 fighter jets against this so-called “rag-tag army”? Wouldn’t armoured cars and tanks and mortars have sufficed in that four square kilometer area of land against that motley crew? In the end, were Malaysians given a clear picture of the efficacy of those fighter jet sorties?

Whatever the reasons for sending in the fighter bombers and jets, the international arms merchants have now come to town to peddle their wares. The French have started advertising their ‘Rafale’ fighter jets in our mainstream newspapers, alongside bargains by ‘Giant’ and ‘Tesco’ for the attention of Malaysians.

BAE-Systems-Typhoon-_fast air

BAE are also desperately trying to flog their ‘Typhoon’ jet fighters in a RM10 billion deal they hope to clinch with a “Buy 1 – Get 1 free” gambit. They lost out recently to the French when the Indian government opted to buy 126 Rafale fighter jets instead, and are still fuming.

But do we need any fighter jets at all, considering their cost is spiraling way out of control and they so quickly become obsolete? They will be even more obsolete when future air wars are fought using drones (Unarmed Aerial Vehicles)!

Malaysians should be aware that the latest (US) F35 fighter jets cost at least half a billion ringgit a piece? Can we keep up with the race? What race? Who are we racing against? Who are our enemies?

Appropriate vessels for RMN

When the bombardment finally began at Lahad Datu, it was mentioned that the navy had formed a cordon to prevent the intruders from getting away. It became clear that there has never been a cordon to prevent any intruders from getting INTO Sabah all these years.

malaysia military navy teluk sepanggar naval base sabah 030908 02Looking at the geography of the area, it is evident that our two submarines (costing more than RM7 billion) sitting pretty in Sepanggar Bay and our six New Generation Patrol Vessels (costing RM9 billion) were not the most suitable vessels in such circumstances.

This mismatch raises the question of the need for our navy to prioritise the deployment of appropriate alternative vessels.  As part of the RM5 billion arms deal signed between Dr Mahathir and Margaret Thatcher in 1989, we procured two corvettes built by the Yarrow shipbuilders costing RM2.2 billion. (NST, Novembe 11, 1991).

At the time, the Royal Malaysian Navy said they required sixteen offshore patrol vessels but due to financial constraints, the RMN could only afford four or five of these locally-built OPVs. Mindef had budgeted RM85 million per OPV. (NST, November 25,1991).

Najib-Op DaulatNow, in the light of the latest incident at Lahad Datu, Malaysians will be in a better position to see the appropriate vessels that would be more suitable to secure the Sabah coastline.

Before the Lahad Datu incident, the main “enemies” testing the capacity of our armed forces were the pirates in the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca.

There were no bigger “enemies” than those seafaring marauders. Are state-of-the-art fighter jets and submarines the appropriate defence equipment against pirates? These would likewise be inappropriate if “international terrorists” and suicide bombers choose to target Malaysia.

So, exactly how are decisions made in the Ministry of Defence to purchase the submarines, the corvettes, the frigates (costing billions) instead of more effective patrol boats to guard our coastlines?

ASEAN needs to take ZOPFAN more seriously

There is no end if we choose to embark on an arms race with our neighbouring countries. We simply cannot afford such an arms race and it is time ASEAN countries seriously talk about disarmament and joint defence agreements instead of an arms race within ASEAN.

pulau batu putih pulau batu puteh 230508Our economic priorities need to be diverted away from military production toward production for human needs, and public expenditure diverted to more and better social services throughout ASEAN.

Any disputes over territories should be settled through international arbitration as was done over Pulau Batu Putih with Singapore. The dispute of the Spratly Islands should be resolved the same way.

M’sian people not the enemy

The Lahad Datu incident should act as a wake-up call for the Malaysian government that seems preoccupied with treating its own people as the enemy. When we bear in mind that throughout the tenure of the Internal Security Act since 1960, more than 10,000 people had been incarcerated for being “threats to national security”.

But hardly any have been charged for any crimes involving violence against Tian Chuathe state. Then again, there have been at least two cases of Malaysians who have been killed in neighbouring countries for alleged terrorist activities. Yet, none of them were ever arrested under the ISA!

This goes to show that our intelligence service has been focusing on the wrong suspects. As a former ISA detainee who was incarcerated for being a “threat to national security”, I can vouch for the wanton wastage of security personnel on Malaysians who are simply not “enemies of the state”.

When I think of the number of state operatives who had been spying on me, arresting me, guarding me, interrogating me, accompanying me on family and hospital visits, I immediately wonder how they could be better deployed to prevent crimes being committed and watching out for the real enemies of the state.  And when we multiply the cost 10,000 times since 1960, we will realize the enormous waste of human resources that could be better put to use!

It was recently reported in the New York Times (March 13, 2013) that Malaysia is among 25 countries using off-the-shelf spyware to keep tabs on citizens by secretly grabbing images off computer screens, recording video chats, turning on cameras and microphones, and logging keystrokes:

“Rather than catching kidnappers and drug dealers, it looks more likely that it is being used for politically motivated surveillance,” security researcher Morgan Marquis-Boire was quoted by NYT as saying.  This is what I mean when I say our intelligence service is not focused on the job but wasting valuable resources spying on and apprehending the good guys!

Indeed, if the Malaysian state had only focused on the job of catching the real criminals, Malaysia would be a much safer place instead of being the “nation of guarded communities” it has become today.

Militarism serves ruling class

Zahid at LIMA2013Apart from the huge commissions that can be creamed from multibillion ringgit arms contracts, the ruling class requires militarism to contain the oppressed and disgruntled sections of the population.

A strong military is necessary to prop up the ruling class. At the same time, the military-industrial complex promotes the development of a specially favoured group of companies engaged in the manufacture and sale of munitions and military equipment for personal gain and profit. These armaments companies have a direct interest in the maximum expansion of military production.

Arms production is a green issue

Military spending and arms production are very much green issues. The military- industrial complex not only produces toxic products, they produce weapons that kill indiscriminately. LIMA and other defence fairs are certainly not congruent with Malaysian leaders’ stated commitment to peace and spiritual values.

The green movement has a responsibility to work toward an end to the culture of war. This involves re-ordering our financial priorities away from wasteful and destructive arms production and procurement to the social well-being of the people.

Ultimately, working towards a culture of peace is a vision that is only attainable in a society that respects human dignity, social justice, democracy and human rights.

Chinese Navy makes waves in South China Sea


March 28, 2013

Chinese Navy makes waves in South China Sea

by Calum MacLeod and Oren Dorell, USA TODAY 6:49p.m. EDT March 27, 2013

BEIJING – The appearance of a Chinese navy flotilla at an island chain 1,120 miles from its home shores is a clear sign that the new Communist regime is moving to enforce its claims to the entire South China Sea, experts said Wednesday.

James Shaol

James Shoal is 50 miles from the coast of Malaysia, one of several countries that have appealed to the United States for help in countering China’s aggressive attempt to seize 1 million square miles of fishing and energy resources.

The Chinese military drills in the southernmost part of the sea show that the Obama administration’s “Asia Pivot,” which the White House said will refocus U.S. defense assets from the Middle East to East Asia, has produced few results for countries such as the Philippines and Japan, says Michael Auslin, an East Asia specialist at the American Enterprise Institute.

“We’re losing credibility with our allies and friends by not getting involved,” he says. “China has interpreted U.S. inaction as a green light to go forward.”

Chinese Navy Ships

The flotilla includes China’s most advanced amphibious landing ship. Sailors on the ship’s helicopter deck declared their loyalty to the ruling Communist Party and vowed to “struggle arduously to realize the dream of a powerful nation,” said Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency.

In 2010, China planted a monument on the shoal declaring it the Chinese territory of “Zengmu Reef.” The act was part of China’s claims to all islands, fishing grounds and energy resources in a sea shared also by Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan. The South China Sea is also a major transit route for global shipping; half of all cargo in the world passes through the sea.

Malaysia says China’s claims are bogus and merely an attempt to seize resources such as possible oil and gas deposits that are well within the internationally recognized coastal territory of Malaysia.

Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, Northeast Asia director for the International Crisis Group, a non-profit working in conflict prevention, said the naval exercise is consistent with China’s “shift from a land-focused power to a maritime power.”

The strategy has been pushed over the past two years, during which China has grown more assertive over its maritime claims, she said.

Gary Li, a senior analyst with IHS Fairplay in London, described the flotilla mission “a surprisingly strong message” from the new Chinese leadership recently installed under President Xi Jinping.

“It is not just a few ships here and there, but a crack amphibious landing ship carrying marines and hovercraft and backed by some of the best escort ships in the fleet,” he told the South China Morning Post, adding that jet fighters had also been used to cover the task force.

“We’ve never seen anything like this that far south in terms of quantity or quality.”

Auslin said the United States should respond in its longstanding role of ensuring the sea is not controlled by any single nation. He said the White House should increase the frequency of U.S. warship formations in the area to show China “we’re going to be present.” It would also boost the confidence of allies that the U.S. is standing up to challenges from their mighty neighbor, he said.

The White House has said it wants all sides to settle their disputes peacefully through international legal structures. But in light of Chinese behavior that many in the region view as aggressive, that sends a message that the United States will not confront China, Auslin says.

China’s behavior could undermine 100 years of U.S. policy that “might makes right” cannot prevail in sea lanes open to all, Auslin said.

“Do we want to see that environment change to where relations between countries are determined by the strongest? That’s the 19th century world,” he said.

MacLeod reported from Beijing; Dorell from McLean, Va.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/03/27/china-military-south-china-sea/2023947/

In Politics, irresolution is a dead end.


March 28, 2013

In Politics, irresolution is a dead end.

by Terence Netto@http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT: Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak must be mulling the thought that with allies like Dr Mahathir Mohamad he does not need adversaries.

Mahathir again

Almost daily, the retired former Prime Minister has something to say about current affairs, not all of it benign to the interests of the incumbent Prime Mime . Few believed that when he retired in October 2003, after 22 years as Prime Minister, Mahathir would go gently into the good night of political retirement and memoir writing.

Still fewer expected that he would continue to stalk the political arena, spewing darts from his blowgun. After all, he was an advanced septuagenarian when he retired, an age that’s not exactly hospitable to a post-race lap. Further, he disclaimed any interest in a Lee Kuan Yew-like minister mentor role.

But just like General Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz’s observation that war is the continuation of politics by other means, so too Mahathir’s retirement from prime ministerial office is the resumption of political leadership from vantages other than the bully pulpit.

Dr M and Badawi-Handing OverFrom the sidelines, Mahathir exerted his influence, especially when matters on successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s watch were not going according to his taste. When and if they did, he was loud in remonstrance, even to the extent of threatening to quit UMNO.

One is reminded of Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s sally that Mahathir was more useful to the opposition if he was still a member of Umno than if he were out, which was what the ex-PM threatened to do at one stage of his harassment of the hapless Abdullah.

In high dudgeon over Abdullah’s leadership, Mahathir at one stage threw in his resignation from UMNO but was mollified by Najib enough to have it rescinded.

Noose tightening

Just now, Najib must be feeling rueful about that exercise in pacification of Mahathir because it has brought him no dividends. From the start of his premiership four years ago, Najib has bent over backwards not to offend the supposed retiree, all in the euphoric hope that he won’t court the fate of his predecessor Abdullah who had to run the gauntlet of Mahathir’s carping criticisms until he caved in to the pressure.

With the latest comments by Mahathir that the PM would have to2 PMs relinquish his position as UMNO President if he but wins GE13 narrowly, Najib must have felt the noose tightening around his neck.

True, Mahathir is no respecter of the proprieties governing intramural political conversation – he only abides by the rules when it suits him – still, his reminder to Najib that the latter is dangling by a shriveling thread must be considered unhelpful, what with Najib facing a tight general election.

Talk of confidence-building measures, this is like telling a friend who faces the prospect of being hung in a few weeks’ time that you have withdrawn your support for the abolition of capital punishment.

Najib has misjudged Mahathir’s character which is the epitome of Charles de Gaulle’s dictum that in politics there are no permanent friends or enemies; there are only permanent interests.

Mukhriz MahathirFor GE13, Mahathir’s interest lies in a Najib victory that is narrower than Abdullah’s was at GE12. That way, Najib will be challenged for the UMNO presidency – Mahathir would prefer he vacates it as Abdullah did – by current deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin, whose elevation would pave the way for Mahathir’s son, Mukhriz, to rise in the party hierarchy.

Mahathir has taken care to deny any interest in the prospects for upward mobility of Muhyiddin, but that is a denial that is more for the sake of form than for actual content.

Seen as weak and ineffectual

When Mahathir retired in October 2003, he exerted pressure from behind the scenes on successor Abdullah to name Najib as the deputy which Abdullah was reluctant to do, preferring to leave the selection to an elective assembly of UMNO that he intended to convene only after seeking his own mandate at a general election.

But Mahathir, to forestall a possible Abdullah preference for Muhyiddin over Najib, forced the PM’s hand and had Najib named as deputy PM in January 2004.

Two months later, in March 2004, Abdullah won an overwhelming endorsement at GE11, a victory that would have made his preference of a deputy, subtly conveyed of course, irresistible to UMNO delegates at the subsequent elective assembly of the party.

Mahathir’s leadership preferences chop and change, but his interests – self more than party-centred – remain permanent. That these are now running counter to Najib’s best interests is clear.

Najib-razak-rMahathir’s comment yesterday that, if he were PM, he would have called the election last year is the sort of smart talk on hindsight that is disdained as cheap by incumbents and retirees alike from high office, especially when they belong in the same side of the political divide.

The comment only serves to emphasise Najib’s ineptness in deferring the election to the point that it shows he is scared stiff of the probable results. His disinclination to offend Mahathir and his dithering over when to call the general election has shown him up as weak and ineffectual.

They have brought him no benefits, underscoring the point that in politics, irresolution is a dead end.

Kulim’s Pak Kadiaq comments on Election Uncertainty


March 28, 2013

Kulim’s Pak Kadiaq comments on Election Uncertainty

by Anisah Shukry@http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

kadir sheikh fadhir

Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir (above) says over the past year, the country has lost out on billions ringgit worth of investment and people-oriented projects because of polls uncertainty.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s delay in announcing the general election has frightened off investors, distracted leaders from public service, and lost the country revenue worth billions in ringgit, a former UMNO veteran said.

Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, who quit UMNO in 2012 after being a member of the party for 56 years, told FMT in an exclusive interview that Najib was making a big mistake in not declaring the polls date in the last year and a half.

“Because of this uncertainty created, for the last one year… I heard a lot of investors who wanted to come to the country started postponing things until they are sure of the election results,” said Abdul Kadir, who is also Executive Chairman of property development group Sazean Holdings Sdn Bhd.

“Billions and billions of investments that could have come into the economy was held back because of the uncertainty created.”

The Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia (Ikatan) founder said that in addition to declining investments, the rakyat were also losing out on government projects because of the uncertainty.

“The politicians… have been doing nothing but politicking for the last one year or so and government’s money is being spent not on… projects which are really a priority, for the benefit of the people, but on projects that benefit them politically. Political projects, so to say,” said Abdul Kadir.

The political veteran, who contested and won in elections from 1978, 1982, 1986 and 2004 for the Kulim-Bandar Baharu seat, noted that this was the longest yet period of uncertainty prior to a general election.

“I think it is very sad, I think the country has lost a lot because of this uncertainty created by the postponement of the election.So I think Najib might as well use this opportunity, since we are coming to the end of the parliament’s term on April 28, he might as well… let it be dissolved by itself on April 28 and have elections in two weeks or so.

Introduce fixed terms

Abdul Kadir also stressed that Najib should take advantage of his “political transformation programme” to change the laws and allow for a fixed-term government to avoid future delays and uncertainty in the polls date.

“Every five years, go for elections, so every government elected is sure it has five years. But of course, give some flexibility, choose the right date, say, for example, three months before the end of that five [year] term,” he suggested.

“So there is certainty there… so every party can really know that the elections are going to be within this [certain] period, and they can make all their preparations, including the government.”

He added that it was “unwise” for the government to be allowed to call for elections any time it wished as this would not benefit the rakyat, the country, nor its economy.

“As you can see, everybody is politicking day and night, nothing else. No one is concentrating on how to develop the country and economy. Even though we have Lahad Datu… our mind is still on the elections,” he said, referring to the armed incursion in Sabah by the Royal Sulu Sultanate Army.

 

Ambiga responds to The Star’s “Political Pundit”


March 28, 2013

Ambiga responds to The Star’s “Political Pundit”: Four Reasons? What Crap is that, Mr Ampu Wong

by RK Anand@http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Ambiga-FMTThe BERSIH chief dismisses the four reasons given by the Star’s group editor-in-chief for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s delay in dissolving Parliament.

In a comment piece published on the front-page of the Star today, the MCA-owned daily’s group Editor-in-Chief Wong Chun Wai stated four reasons for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s feet-dragging on the dissolution of Parliament.

However, BERSIH co-chairperson S Ambiga is not convinced with the four “good” reasons, which were:

  • A caretaker government cannot enter into agreements at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima).
  • Finishing touches to some projects and programmes.
  • Barisan Nasional’s candidates’ list not finalised.
  • Impossible at the moment for politicians to campaign freely in Lahad Datu.

Commenting on the first reason cited, Ambiga told FMT that it is not a licence to dig into the public coffers to embark on a spending spree.

“LIMA contracts were all foreseeable. If this was an aim, then why lead the public on a merry ride and threaten to dissolve Parliament for more than a year?” she asked.

Ambiga stressed that it is morally wrong to extend the dissolution date on this premise, adding that the move smacked of utter desperation. “The way they [the incumbent government] are spending suggests that they are not certain of returning to power. And that is the whole point of a caretaker government: they should not make any contracts which the next incoming government would be bound by; you must uphold the status quo.

“It is wrong to rush into contracts when it is very close to the caretaker period,” she added.

As for Wong’s second point, Ambiga argued that putting the final touches on projects and programmes is also something that was foreseeable in the past.

“This once again suggests that they are not confident. It seems that for the first time, there is a confidence crisis [in BN] with regard to retaining Putrajaya. However, your nervousness does not justify spending the rakyat’s money so close to the election and for keeping us on hold regarding the election date,” she said.

‘Automatic dissolution is shameful’

Chicjken Najib

Chicken Najib

On BN still finalising its list of candidates, the BERSIH chairperson dismissed this as the weakest possible excuse. Ambiga said the list has to be finalised before any general election, and since Najib has been toying with the people over the election date for more than a year, BN should have worked on the list a long time ago.

“This is a pathetic excuse for delaying the dissolution of Parliament,” she added.

As for the security in Lahad Datu being used as a reason, Ambiga expressed puzzlement. “We were previously given the impression that everything was fine and safe… for the election to be held there. This is news to me. It seems like the government is caught in its own web of misinformation… I would like to know the truth about the situation there,” she said.

Commenting on the automatic dissolution of the Negeri Sembilan State Legislative Assembly last night, Ambiga said this is not something to be proud of as it meant that the incumbent government is being booted out of power by the Federal Constitution.

“…unless we amend the Constitution and have fixed dates for elections. Then everybody’s life goes on until the date of election; now everyone’s life is on hold… this is the psychological point and it is shameful,” she added.

Furthermore, Ambiga stated that automatic dissolution is a constitutional safeguard against recalcitrant regimes.

“Let me stress again that there was nothing to be proud of allowing for an automatic dissolution, although it was legal. No self-respecting government would allow that to happen,” she added.

Najib’s delay in dissolving Parliament has led to a litany of speculations, ranging from a lack of confidence to more last-minute plots being hatched against the Opposition.

Parliament is scheduled for automatic dissolution on April 27.