GEORGE TOWN – Although it is already September, there is still time to hold the 15th General Election (GE15) this year, said Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Datuk Seri Ismail said there is still a window to call for the GE15 this year but it would all depend on Umno’s top five.

“Every decision will be made by the Umno top five,” he said.

The top five refers to party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, deputy president Mohamad Hasan, and the three vice-presidents – Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and Mr Ismail himself.

The meeting of the top five would be held as soon as possible, Mr Ismail said, after launching the World Congress on Innovation and Technology 2022 at the Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Bayan Lepas in Penang on Tuesday.

Asked if it would be held before, or after, the tabling of Budget 2023 on Oct 7, he replied: “It is possible it (the meeting) may be earlier.”

Datuk Seri Mohamad had said earlier that Mr Ismail has indicated that GE15 would be held this year.

It is generally believed the elections would not be held late in the year as the monsoon period, which often brings floods to the East Coast, starts in December. The year-end school holidays are slated to be from Dec 9 to 31.

On Budget 2023, Mr Ismail remained coy about who would table it, saying: “Wait until Oct 7.”

On former prime minister Najib Razak’s health condition, Mr Ismail said he had contacted the Health Ministry.

“Whatever he needs, we will try to accommodate,” he said.

Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had told the High Court on Tuesday that his client has been warded at Hospital Kuala Lumpur since Monday and could be referred to the National Heart Institute.

Najib’s 1MDB trial for the misappropriation of RM2.28 billion (S$711 million) of 1MDB funds was scheduled to be heard from Monday to Thursday but has now been vacated. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK