JOHOR BAHRU: The fate of some Malaysian state governments are in question after recent political developments in the country that saw Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir resign and the governing Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition break apart on Monday (Feb 24).
The 94-year-old leader was named interim prime minister by Malaysia's king, while all ministers in the Cabinet have been relieved of their duties.
Dr Mahathir also quit as chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), which pulled out of the PH coalition, but his resignation has been rejected.
Some states, including Johor and Melaka, were faced with uncertainty as political parties scrambled to form a new federal government, said local media reports.
In Johor, where the current government formed a majority with seats from four different parties, the numbers indicate that opposition Johor Barisan Nasional (BN) can match the number of seats held by the three PH component parties if Bersatu switches allegiances.
Johor BN said on Tuesday it is preparing to take over the state government, hinting that there might be defections.
State United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) chief Hasni Mohamad said that BN now has the numbers to form the state government with a simple majority, reported The Star on Tuesday.
“We are preparing the statuary declaration with the assemblymen and will be presenting them to the Johor ruler. We want the state to function normally and do not want it to be as complicated as what is happening at the federal level,” he was quoted as saying.
He added that Johor was unique as Sultan Ibrahim has the prerogative to appoint the chief minister.
READ: No legal obstacle to form new ruling coalition, but against spirit of Malaysia's constitution: Expert
Johor currently has 56 state assemblymen with UMNO holding 14 state seats, the Malaysian Indian Congress holding two, and one seat held by Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS).
PH has 14 seats from the Democratic Action Party (DAP), nine from Parti Amanah Negara, five from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and 11 from Bersatu.
RESIGNATIONS, PLEDGES TO CARRY ON
Over in Melaka, Chief Minister and PH state chairman Adly Zahari, who is from Amanah, announced his resignation on Tuesday.
In a farewell message on Twitter, Adly expressed his thanks at being given the chance to lead the state.
“Although it was a short time, I have given my best with all my energy to relieve hunger, evil, and sadness of everyone. I pray all are blessed by God,” he wrote.
The PH coalition, which originally held 15 out of the 28 state seats, is now only left with 13 seats.
Other states sought to calm the situation with statements that the governments will continue to function.
In Selangor, chief minister Amirudin Shari on Tuesday said in a statement that the sultan was satisfied with the current government’s explanation that it intends to continue its commitment to upholding the mandate of the citizens of Selangor, as per the 2018 general election.
Amirudin’s statement followed an audience with the Sultan of Selangor at the palace on Tuesday morning.
He said the Selangor ruler also ordered the state government to function and carry out its duties as per normal.
Selangor currently has 56 state seats, with 21 seats controlled by PH, followed by DAP (16), Amanah (8), Bersatu (5), BN (5) and PAS (1).
Perak Chief Minister Ahmad Faizal Azumu also said that the Perak government is functioning as usual.
“We still have the majority support from the state assemblymen,” he said in a statement.