JOHOR: Malaysia’s southernmost state and traditional ruling party stronghold Johor toppled to the opposition Pakatan Harapan alliance after general elections on Wednesday (May 9), in a historic moment for the country.
Pakatan’s component parties won 36 out of 56 state seats to take control of the state assembly, ousting the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition which had, up until now, governed Johor since Malaysia’s independence.
BN won just 19 seats while the remaining seat went to Gagasan Sejahtera.
Big-name victories include former regime top gun-turned-opposition heavyweight Muhyiddin Yassin winning the Gambir seat by more than 3,000 votes. The ex-deputy prime minister has been touted as a potential choice for chief minister of Johor.
Pakatan vice-president Salahuddin Ayub also clinched the Simpang Jeram seat by 7,687 votes.
And Johor's chief minister Khaled Nordin surprisingly lost his Permas state seat by 8,746 votes to Pakatan’s Che Zakaria Salleh.
Only five other Malaysian states - Kelantan, Penang, Perak, Kedah and Selangor - out of 13 have ever been won by the opposition.
On a federal level, opposition leader Liew Chin Tong was pipped to the Ayer Hitam seat by just 303 votes, losing to incumbent Wee Ka Siong, a minister in the prime minister’s department.
Liew’s election agent Lee Cher Ling told Channel NewsAsia their request for a recount had been turned down - and that they were considering legal recourse.
Outgoing deputy home minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed suffered a shock loss in his Pulai parliamentary seat by nearly 29,000 votes to Salahuddin.
Another upset was delivered in Pasir Gudang with Khaled defeated by Pakatan’s Hassan Abdul Karim to the tune of almost 25,000 votes.
And in Muar, BN’s deputy minister in the prime minister’s department Razali Ibrahim was stunned by nearly 7,000 votes courtesy of young Pakatan upstart Syed Saddiq.
Elsewhere, Muhyiddin also retained his Pagoh parliament seat by nearly 7,000 votes, while longtime opposition stalwart Lim Kit Siang held on to his Iskandar Puteri - formerly named Gelang Patah - parliamentary ward, trouncing BN challenger Jason Teoh by nearly 45,000 votes.
BN stalwart and defence minister Hishamuddin Hussein also kept his Sembrong seat with a 6,662-vote margin.