Parliament to be dissolved before tabling of budget?

KUALA LUMPUR: An unprecedented dissolution of Parliament just hours before the tabling of the budget may be on the cards.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri is said to have sought an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Thursday for his nod to dissolve parliament before the tabling of the 2023 Budget, scheduled for Friday.

Sources said the move is to allow the 15th general election (GE15) to be held earlier to prevent it from coinciding with the surge of the monsoon, which is expected to begin mid-November.

It is understood that if the King gives his consent for the dissolution of Parliament, the tabling of the budget will not materialise.

The source said an earlier than scheduled GE15 was partly to negate increasing pressure from non-Barisan Nasional (BN) parties for the polls to be held next year.

The dissenting voices had cited the expected floods and bad weather as a reason to defer polls.

Another set of sources said it was likely that GE15 would be held at the end of the month or latest by early November.

The Umno Top 5 – made up of the party president, deputy president and three vice presidents – had reportedly set a date for GE15 and the party was merely waiting for the King's green light for Parliament to be dissolved.

Meanwhile, an Umno division chief who attended a briefing by party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Ismail Sabri at the Kuala Lumpur World Trade Centre earlier today confirmed that the prime minister will seek an audience with the King on Thursday for the purpose.

He said all 191 division chiefs were informed at the briefing that the polls would be held latest by the first week of November.

The Umno general assembly scheduled for Nov 23 to Nov 26, had also been deferred to a later date.

"At the briefing, it was agreed that Umno will retain Ismail Sabri as BN's poster for GE15 and as the prime minister of choice if the party takes Putrajaya," he said.

Rumours of an early dissolution of Parliament gained traction following Zahid's statement earlier today which among others demanded for Pas to decide swiftly on whether it was working with Umno in GE15.

Zahid had said to Pas after the meeting: "Decide earliest possible... otherwise we (BN) will move solo."

At the same media conference, Zahid had asked for all state Umno liaison chiefs to forward five names to the Top 5 to be considered as the party's candidates.

Umno had listed three criteria for its election hopefuls – winnable, acceptable, likeable.

In a statement today, Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was adamant that GE15 should not be held this year considering the monsoon.

Pas president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang had also echoed Muhyiddin's views.

Other reports cited several Pakatan Harapan leaders, including PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli, Amanah vice president Datuk Mahfuz Omar and DAP's veteran leader Lim Kit Siang had also speculated that Parliament would be dissolved before the tabling of Budget 2023.

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