Last week, the Cabinet directed all ministers and senior civil servants to
cancel their leave plans; a strong sign
that the general election is imminent.
Speculation is rife that Parliament will be dissolved this month and polling will be held by the second week
The 25th Barisan anniversary
celebration, scheduled for Oct 24,
has received the go-ahead from
the Prime Minister.
The biggest boost for the Government must be the negative results of the
findings on the alleged arsenic
poisoning of Datuk Seri Anwar
The first report came from Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. When the
results were unfavourable to Anwar, his supporters responded by insinuating
that the hospital was under
The bottom line, they implied, was a
cover-up. They wanted an investigation
by a Royal Commission of Inquiry.
But it would be difficult for the
Opposition to dispute the findings
of the London and New York hospitals which also concluded that Anwar did
not suffer from arsenic poisoning.
Four different laboratories in Malaysia,
Australia and Britain found arsenic
present in samples of Anwar's hair,
urine and nails but they were all within
The Mayo Clinic of New York was of the
opinion that the presence of arsenic was "due to the consumption of a non-toxic form of arsenic, probably from sea food.''
The findings also showed that Anwar was
free from HIV, refuting an earlier allegation that Anwar was injected with the
The Opposition has made a tactical error and would need some time to pump up sagging morale among its ranks.
For Barisan, the clear evidence of the
country's economy recovery achieved
without submitting to the International
Monetary Fund, unlike Indonesia and
Thailand is another morale-booster.
Despite being criticised for its capital
controls move, Malaysia managed to pull
through without massive retrenchment and
a sharp rise in prices of essential
Some of us may recall that a year ago,
the pro-opposition foreign media forecast a scenario of Malaysian banks collapsing.
The reports called for reforms, saying
the Government had not been tough enough
on the banking system. But when Bank
Negara moved to merge some banks in
order to strengthen the system, the same
media looked for faults.
Another plus point was Dr Mahathir's willingness accommodate an appeal by Chinese groups.
What was earlier seen as a potentially sour point among the Chinese community
turned out well, with MCA president
Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik getting the
various Chinese groups to sit down to
resolve the controversy.
Dr Ling pointed out that it was an
appeal, not a demand.
There was also no demand for a deputy
prime minister's post, as presumed by
some. Dr Ling said that representatives
of Chinese groups would be named into
the National Economic Consultative Committee II.
It is important to note that Datuk Chong
Chin Shoong, regarded as a moderate,
retained the presidency of the powerful
Federation of Chinese Associations of Malaysia.
With economic recovery, a bullish stock market will help quell anti-establishment sentiments especially
among the urban middle class.
Investors and retailers understand that if Barisan is not returned with a
strong mandate, the effects would be
disastrous to the market.
And the trickle-down effect of the
economic recovery will be felt even more
when the Government announces its
year-end bonus for civil servants.
Bearing in mind all these factors, the time is ripe for Barisan to call for elections. After months of defence, Barisan is on the offensive
Dr Mahathir should take advantage of these developments. Fresh issues would only put Barisan on the defensive.
Most Malaysians would have made up their
minds by now. Those who want stability
would vote Barisan while those who want a change in the system would vote the Opposition.
Anwar supporters have accused the
Government of poisoning him while
Barisan has accused the Opposition of poisoning the people's mind. It's time for the voter to decide whose "brew'' is more potent.