JOHOR BARU: Calling for a state election is not a sign of an irresponsible government, says Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
He said it was wrong to assume that the welfare of the people would be jeopardised by a snap election.
“Holding the state election is not an irresponsible act. In fact, this is actually the responsible thing to do as the (state) government is in an unstable position,” he said.
Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional are just hanging on to the state, with their combination of 28 seats (16 from Barisan plus 12 from Perikatan) in the 56-seat assembly.
“We must return the mandate to the people instead of constantly insisting that we have the power, especially when we have to ask for support from the Opposition,” Khaled said in a Facebook post yesterday.
He was responding to Parti Amanah Negara deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, who threatened to withdraw his support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob if an election were to be called in Johor.
Khaled added that such threats were also reasons for the need for state polls and the general election to be held immediately.
“No government should be threatened at any time, under any circumstance,” he said.
The former Johor mentri besar also said that the state bureaucracy would continue operating as usual to deliver aid to the people, even if a state election takes place.
“Nothing will be shut down or stopped. The problem is that when the government is weak and unstable, efforts to help the people and manage the state will be affected if they continue to be threatened by a collapse, as we see happening now,” he said.
He added that the Melaka and Sarawak state elections late last year were successful, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They resulted in the formation of a stable and strong government without causing further spread of the pandemic. More than 90 countries have held elections during the pandemic,” he said.
Khaled also claimed that Salahuddin’s threat was not in the best interests of the people, but due to fears of defeat.
“Pakatan Harapan’s defeat in the Melaka and Sarawak state elections has deeply haunted it.
“Whether or not the state election is necessary is up to the discretion of the state government and the Johor palace.
“Threats and intimidation from Pakatan are not the determining factor to dissolve the state government,” he said.
Khaled added that if Pakatan gained the support of the Prime Minister, Barisan is prepared to face a general election and form a new government with the support of Pakatan.
On Saturday, Salahuddin said that he would not hesitate to withdraw his support for the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on bipartisan cooperation between Pakatan and the government if the state election was called.
“The situation today is not suitable for the rakyat to go through a state election, especially as the flood issue has yet to be solved, and with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“They (the government) have to think about the rakyat seriously.
“If they were to dissolve state assemblies recklessly in Johor and Perak or other states, then I may withdraw my support for the MOU,” he told The Star.