BN secured a two-thirds majority win to form a strong and stable Johor state government, losers acting like sourgrapes
JOHOR BARU – By now everyone is aware that the UMNO led Barisan Nasional (BN) captured Johor on Saturday (12 March), winning 40 out of the 56 seats in the state polls.
With this victory, BN secured a two-thirds majority to form a strong and stable state government posting a stunning comeback that could spur it to press for an early general election.
Apart from its traditional strongholds in north Johor, BN managed to capture some urban seats near Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang that had been won by Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the 2018 14th general election.
Out of the 40 seats, UMNO won 33, MCA four and MIC three.
The majority of the remaining seats were scooped by PH, 10 by DAP and one by Amanah.
Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR won only one seat, repeating its dull performance at the recent Melaka and Sarawak state elections and putting into question his leadership of the PH coalition.
Malaysia’s eighth Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Bersatu led Perikatan Nasional (PN) with PAS and Gerakan as its component parties also fared poorly. Contesting all 56 seats equally with BN, it won only three seats, two by Bersatu and one by PAS.
Muhyiddin, who portrayed himself as Johor’s stalwart during the election campaign accepted responsibility for the coalition’s defeat.
“I am ready to resign at any time if the party decides that I should go,” he said at a media conference on Saturday night.
Muar MP Syed Saddiq’s Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA) contesting for the first time, won one seat.
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) ran in 42 seats, while Parti Warisan, led by former Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal contested six seats, splitting the opposition vote with PH parties in all of them, returned empty-handed.
Tebrau MP Steven Choong’s Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) which contested four seats, also returned empty-handed.
UMNO Hammering Win
UMNO’s hammering win in its place of origin comes on the back of BN scoring a two-thirds majority in the Melaka elections in November last year.
Leading the charge for the victorious Johor campaign was former premier Najib Razak who thanked the Johor voters for giving the mandate to BN to rule the state.
“I thank all the Johor voters for voting BN in order to get Johor back on the development track while conserving harmony among the people,” he told the New Malaysia Herald when contacted for a comment.
Besides Najib, incumbent Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad, who is expected to be sworn in again, also thanked the voters for their mandate and said they had chosen stability.
“I urge all voters, whether those who voted BN or otherwise, to be together with me for the future of Johor,” he said on Saturday night at the BN’s command centre.
Nevertheless, yesterday’s victory for BN went unacknowledged by any of the Opposition parties. It is a general practice that in a competition, the loser will usually congratulate the winner and will admit defeat with a vow to improve on its weaknesses and will fare better in the next round.
Alas, all the Opposition parties and the media closely aligned with them were shifting blame on these factors, but never themselves: Unrecognisable logo (PEJUANG) and insufficient time to campaign (DAP), among other excuses.
Most of them too pooh-poohed BN’s victory by saying that the latter won due to the poor voter turnout – slightly more than 50% when the voting centres closed at 6 pm. Some even said that since the voter turnout was low, the election should be considered null and void and there should be a re-election.
However, it was later acknowledged that BN took 66.25% of the popular votes, making them the more popular coalition and certainly deserving of the victory.
This election is historic as it is the first time a total of 173,177 youths aged between 18 and 20 are eligible to cast their ballots in Johor, making them the first in this age group to vote in elections in Malaysia.
The lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 years and automatic voter registration were gazetted on 01 Dec 2021 and was enforced on 15 Dec after obtaining the consent of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
A total of 1,426,573 (54.92 per cent) voters turned out to vote in 1,021 polling stations which started at 8 am and ended at 6 pm.
239 candidates from 15 political parties contested in this state election with multi-corner battles in several areas.
The Johor state assembly was dissolved on 22 Jan after Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar gave his royal assent under Clause 23 of the Second Part of the Johor State Constitution 1895.
The Johor polls which were supposed to have been held next year along with GE15 but were called early following the demise of Kempas assemblyman Osman Sapian, 70, who died of a stroke on 21 Dec 2021 and the state government was left with a single-seat majority. – New Malaysia Herald