PETALING JAYA: Following Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s tabling of Budget 2013, analysts predicted that the 13th general election will be called after next February.
Independent pollster Ibrahim Suffian said the polls would likely take place after the Chinese New Year in February as the government would only start disbursing the goodies in January.
Referring to the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) 2.0 scheme, he said it would take time for the government to disburse the cash to some 4.7 million eligible households and to some three million eligible singles.
He described the handouts as “very comprehensive” since the lower-income households with two children in school would be entitled to at least RM700 under BR1M and student voucher programmes.
However, Ibrahim doubted if the handouts could translate into ballots for the ruling party as many benefitting from the handouts might not be registered voters.
“There are those who are registered and those who are not registered. At the end of the day, it is not sure whether the RM250 recipients will go out to vote,” he said.
Ibrahim also said that the goodies would have minimal effect on urban voters.
‘Handouts may backfire’
Independent political analyst Wong Chin Huat also agreed with Ibrahim that the polls would be called after February.
He however warned that the handouts might backfire on BN, especially with voters who understand the current state of Malaysia’s economy.
“The government is trying to emulate Singapore in giving out money to the people.
“But the difference is, they are giving out money not because they have managed the country well and made extra revenue, but because they want to give.
“It’s very likely to get people, especially the more sophisticated voters, to take the money and think whether they want to vote for this government or not,” he said.
Wong said the handouts would possibly create a short-term positive impact on the government but the period would not last long.
“They need to capture the good feeling very fast,” he added.
Meanwhile, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan pointed out that there were two ways to decide the election date in relation to the handouts.
“The government may say, if you want to get the handouts, vote for us. So election can be in November. If not, they will disburse the cash first and call it next year,” he said.