Snap polls looming in Johor

JOHOR BARU: Is Johor getting set for a snap state election, after the polls in Melaka and Sarawak? That is the question on everyone’s lips following recent developments in the state.

Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad’s administration is holding a razor-thin one-seat majority following the death of former mentri besar Datuk Osman Sapian, the Kempas assemblyman, on Dec 21 last year.

Following Osman’s death, the Umno-led state government is left with 28 seats while Pakatan Harapan has 27.

Talk about a snap state election intensified when Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, also a former mentri besar, uploaded on Facebook a picture of him meeting with Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar on Friday.

Mohammed Khaled has downplayed the matter, saying he was grateful to be granted the audience as he had not met the Sultan for a long time.

However, he also uploaded several pictures of him meeting with the Pasir Gudang Barisan Nasional machinery to prepare for an election.

Yesterday, Hasni and several state Umno leaders also attended a closed-door meeting with the Kulai Barisan machinery at a hotel in Senai.

When approached, he just smiled and waved to journalists before leaving.

Johor Umno secretary Datuk Samsolbari Jamali said the meeting was not a sign of impending state polls.

“It has nothing to do with a state election. We were invited by Kulai Barisan to attend a seminar as part of their preparations to face the 15th General Election,” he said.

“Johor Umno has yet to discuss the state election, but anybody can speculate about it.”

He said Johor Umno and Barisan Nasional remained focused on serving the people.

“Our main focus is to overcome Covid-19 and the floods in Johor,” said Samsolbari.

Asked if elections could be called after the floods, state agriculture, agro-based and rural development committee chairman said the matter had yet to be discussed.

The Opposition is not keen on early elections.

Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub has in fact threatened to withdraw his support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri at the federal level should a state election be held in Johor.

“The situation now is not suitable for the rakyat to go through a state election, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic and the flood issue, which has yet to be resolved.

“If they (the government) are to dissolve state assemblies recklessly, in Johor and then Perak or other states, then I may withdraw my support for the MOU,” he said.

Salahuddin, who is also the Pulai MP and Simpang Jeram assemblyman, said Johor Pakatan Harapan had been supportive of the state government despite the one-seat majority.

“We have been very cooperative and supportive of the state government for the sake of the rakyat. We went beyond politics.

“So, what is the purpose of doing it (state election) earlier?” he asked.

However, he noted that Johor Pakatan was ready for state election, if it was called.

Currently, the state government consists of Umno (14 seats), MIC (two), PAS (one) and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (11), while the Opposition comprises DAP (14), Amanah (six) and PKR (seven).

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