The BN no longer has the edge that had contributed significantly to its convincing victories in previous general elections.

NONEUniversiti Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections (Umcedel) director Mohammad Redzuan Othman (left) said this is because the BN is unable to conduct a redelineation exercise, having lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament in the 2008 polls.

Another ‘edge’ - in being able to take the opposition by surprise by calling snap elections - has also vanished, because Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has ‘delayed’ calling the 13th general election for too long, he noted.

"When the general election was called on Nov 29, 1999, for example, the opposition was not prepared. Keadilan (now PKR) was only six months old,” he said in his opening presentation at an election forum held in Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, this morning.

"It was also the monsoon season, while the Election Commission was unable to gazette the names of many new voters (due to the snap elections). But this time, (all) this is a non-issue because the opposition is (ready).”

Zig-zag trend in support

However, Mohammad Redzuan noted that there has been a zig-zag trend in election results - when the BN has performed poorly in any general election, it usually sees a rebound in support in the next outing.

NONE"But because the coalition cannot conduct a redelineation exercise (this time around), the (constituency) make-up will be the same as in the last general election," he said.

This means that it will be difficult for the BN to regain its two-thirds majority, he said.

Pointing out the significance of gerrymandering through redelineation, Mohammad Redzuan said that, in the 2004 general election, the BN had won 63.8 percent of the popular vote but captured 90.41 percent of the seats in Parliament.
Elaborating with an example, he said BN had in the 1999 general election used gerrymandering to carve out seats with more Chinese voters, when there was a swing in Malay votes to the opposition.

"But the (BN) cannot do this in the next general election," he added.

Malaysia will have to hold the 13th general election by June 28, but premier Najib Abdul Razak is still keeping the date close to his chest.

~ Malaysiakini