KUALA LUMPUR: Ahead of seat negotiations for the Johor state election, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan says Umno is expecting to contest 42 out of 56 state seats in Johor.
"For Umno alone, we are looking at a minimum 42 out of 56 seats," said the Umno deputy president when met at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (Jan 24).
During GE14, Umno, under the Barisan Nasional banner, contested 35 seats along with MCA (15), MIC (four), and Gerakan (two).
Following the general election in May 2018, Umno managed to win 17 seats while MIC won two in Johor.
Mohamad Hasan (pic), also known as Tok Mat, said Barisan Nasional hasn't commenced seat negotiations, but stressed that preparations for the state election must start soon, given the newly registered Undi18 voters consist of more than 700,000 voters in Johor alone.
"Everyone has to work hard. It's not a walk in the park for Umno, because we don't know what we are entering into."
At the same time, Mohamad Hasan also hinted that Barisan may go solo in the state election without cooperating with PAS, following discussions held with Johor Barisan chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad and the state Umno liaison committee.
"They are more inclined to take on the state election alone, but this will be decided in our (Umno) special supreme council meeting soon," added Mohamad Hasan.
Mohamad Hasan also said Umno must focus on its election strategy despite being in a comfortable position.
"We cannot say we win handsomely in Melaka and we can take things for granted in Johor.
"Every election and by-election is different and we have to work harder."
Meanwhile, Mohamad Hasan also said the High Court's decision to order Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to enter his defence on 47 corruption charges will not affect campaigns in the upcoming Johor state election.
Mohamad Hasan explained this was because court cases involving its leaders were already a "diluted issue".
"I'm not confident that this will be a main factor in the election. In corporate terminology, this (issue) is fully diluted," Mohamad Hasan added.
On Monday (Jan 24) morning, the High Court ordered Zahid to enter his defence on all 47 corruption charges involving millions of ringgit from charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB).
Meanwhile, the Johor state assembly was dissolved last Saturday (Jan 22) and the Election Commission (EC) is expected to announce the dates of nomination day and polling day soon.
Prior to the dissolution of the state assembly on Saturday (Jan 22) evening, the state government had a simple majority of 28 (Barisan 17, Bersatu's 11 and PAS' one) compared to Pakatan's 27 following the death of Bersatu Kempas assemblyman Datuk Osman Sapian last month.