By LIM SUE GOAN
Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily
The guessing game on election date continues. Lim Guan Eng says the European debt crisis could have played a decisive role on this, and as such the election most likely will fall in middle of July just before the Ramadan.
How serous is the European debt crisis? Hardly to pass down a verdict at this moment. Last week, the local bourse dipped 52 points and the RM56.4 billion of market capitalisation evaporated.
This hardly augurs well for the feel-good election atmosphere.
Greece will vote again on June 17, and the reelection is widely seen as a referendum on whether the Mediterranean country will stay or leave the Euro zone. If Greece opts to leave the Euro zone, the domino effect could likely bring down the single currency.
The destruction of this is going to be way more serious than the 2008 financial meltdown. As a trading nation, it is hard for Malaysia to be spared from the predicament.
As such, while weighing the impact of last month's Bersih 3.0 rally, the scale of the European debt crisis must never be played down.
Whether the general election will be fixed in July or September will very much depend on PM Najib when he returns home. It will be ideal if he can wait until the June 17 Greek election outcome, but then we may not be able to make it before the Ramadan starts on July 19.
Further delays to the general election will not do the country any good. The continuous deployment of political tricks by rival parties will dent investor confidence while some companies will temporarily stall their commercial projects pending election results, thus checking economic growth.
The government will start implementing the minimum wage policy in another half a year's time and if the economy remains sluggish, many SMEs will find themselves in doldrums in the absence of new government incentives.
The government must pay a heavy price for deferring the general election. If the GST scheme cannot be pushed ahead, fuel subsidies not reduced and government handouts generously delivered, the national coffers will not have too much left that it can dispose.
Date for the 13th general election was already discussed two years back and political parties have been busying themselves to fight the election war. For instance, MCA leaders have been seen visiting their constituencies more, organising Carnival-like events to get closer to the voters, while Gerakan has submitted its candidate list to the PM. On the other hand, Penang DAP has just launched its election mechanism as PKR kickstarts its SISMEP 3.0 to clinch election victory.
That said, politicians are hardly prepared mentally for the election. For instance, Chua Soi Lek has yet to understand why supporters make generous donations at DAP's dinners while slamming the party for failing even to build a kindergarten.
Members of the public have bought dinner vouchers and donate to opposition because they want fair governance.
It is fallacious for MCA to spend much of its time raising the hudud law and Islamic state issues without seeing the public need for democracy and justice.
While MCA should be commended for its efforts in Chinese education, the same also highlights the government's deficiency when it comes to education for minority groups. What the voters want is for MCA to focus on politics, fighting for more equitable education policy.
The authorities must understand what the people want. They should not equate open expression of public views to rioting, or the government's ETP efforts will be rendered futile.