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Johor state polls: Barisan Nasional aims for two-thirds majority amid ‘winds of change’

 Johor state polls: Barisan Nasional aims for two-thirds majority amid ‘winds of change’
File photo of Barisan Nasional chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi speaking during an event to announce candidates for the Johor state election on Feb 24, 2022. (Photo: Amir Yusof)

AYER HITAM: Barisan Nasional is looking to win at least a two-thirds majority in the upcoming Johor state election for political stability, said its chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid said this would mean winning at least 38 of the 56 seats that are being contested in the polls. 

“This election is not to trouble the people, but UMNO and Barisan Nasional want the people to give their mandate to us. This new mandate is important because we want a Johor government that is stable.

“We need to form a new government by winning at least 29 seats (to form a government).

“But stability is not enough at the minimum of just forming the government. It must not be less than 38 seats, so that we have a two-thirds majority," he said during a speech at the Ayer Hitam district polling centre on Sunday (Feb 27).

BN is made up of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC). They will contest 37, 15, and four seats respectively.

During a press conference later on Sunday, Ahmad Zahid claimed that the “winds of change” have started blowing in the state and that Barisan was confident of receiving support despite the multi-cornered fight in all seats.

"We are confident that if we put forth good candidates, then people will vote for them. The winds of change have blown in Johor, not just among the Malays, but Indians and also some Chinese urban voters, who are now willing to consider Barisan candidates," he said.

During the Melaka state election in November last year, BN secured a two-thirds majority by winning 21 out of 28 state seats.

Johor’s state assembly was dissolved by Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar on Jan 22.

The sultan gave his consent for the dissolution after meeting with caretaker chief minister Hasni Mohammad.

In the 14th state election that was held simultaneously with the federal elections in May 2018, PH won 36 seats and BN won 19 seats, while Parti Islam Se-Malaysia took one seat. 

It was the first time in Malaysia’s history that Johor, considered a BN stronghold and bastion of UMNO, fell to the opposition.

Following the results in 2018, PH presided over the Johor state government. However, following a political manoeuvre known as the “Sheraton Move” in February 2020 that saw Bersatu leave PH, the coalition was ousted from the federal government.

The PH Johor state government also fell, and a new government, made up of BN and PN coalitions, took over.

BN’s Mr Hasni then served as chief minister before the state assembly was dissolved on Jan 22.

Prior to the dissolution, Mr Hasni justified that his state government needed a fresh mandate as it only held a slim majority following the death of former chief minister Osman Sapian in December last year.

Mr Hasni said that the election was necessary as the stability of the Johor state government was a prerequisite for investors and businesses to expand their operations in the state.

MULTI-CORNERED FIGHTS MAY BE BENEFICIAL FOR BN: NAJIB

In a separate event in Johor Bahru, former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak claimed that the multi-cornered fights might be beneficial to Barisan.

“The more the merrier. We feel that with more candidates, the better our chances. Maybe. We can’t be too optimistic, but we must work hard and offer the best agenda for the people. We must be humble when asking for the people’s mandate.

“We leave it to the people so that they make their own assessment,” he said on Sunday.

Perikatan Nasional will also be contesting all 56 seats, while Pakatan Harapan and Muda have a pact that will see them contest all the seats as well.   

There will be seven three-cornered fights, 35 four-cornered fights, eight five-cornered fights, four six-cornered fights, and two seven-cornered fights.

More than 2.59 million voters are eligible to cast their ballot in this state election, with the Election Commission (EC) targeting a 70 per cent voter turnout.

Early voting will take place on Mar 8, while polling has been set for Mar 12.

The commission previously said that there will be a total of 239 candidates contesting in all 56 state seats.

Source: CNA/rv(zl)

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