As speculation mounts over Johor snap polls, Umno says ready for it and BN will contest solo

·3-min read
With speculation rife about whether Johor is heading for a snap state election, Umno leaders have reportedly given a range of responses. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
With speculation rife about whether Johor is heading for a snap state election, Umno leaders have reportedly given a range of responses. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — With speculation rife about whether Johor is heading for a snap state election even before state lawmakers’ five-year term is up, Umno leaders have reportedly given a range of responses, including being ready should snap polls be held.

Local daily The Star said that Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad — who is from Umno — had, with other Umno leaders from Johor, attended a closed-door meeting with the Kulai Barisan Nasional (BN) machinery.

Johor Umno secretary Datuk Samsolbari Jamali was, however, quoted as saying that this meeting was not linked to possible Johor state elections.

“It has nothing to do with a state election. We were invited by Kulai Barisan to attend a seminar as part of their preparations to face the 15th general election.

“Johor Umno has yet to discuss the state election, but anybody can speculate about it,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.

He reportedly said that Johor Umno and BN are still focused on serving the public and that their main priority is to overcome Covid-19 and the floods in Johor.

The Star said that when asked if Johor could call a state election after the floods, Samsolbari said the matter had not been discussed.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, who is also former Johor mentri besar, had through a January 14 Facebook post written about his visit to the Johor Jaya state seat — which BN wants to win back — to see the preparations of election machinery there.

“I also stressed to party members that our stand is clear and has never changed. Umno through BN will contest solo and will not work with any quarters who are not with BN.

“Through BN being dominant and returning to govern, we will bring back stability and prosperity to the people,” he wrote on Facebook.

In previous Facebook posts, Khaled had on January 13 said that he had visited the Umno Pasir Gudang election machinery and that BN will contest solo in the coming election even though there were “several splinter parties who are trying to latch on to Umno’s strength”, and on January 14 said he was granted an audience with the Johor Sultan whom he had not met with for a long time.

Local daily Sinar Harian reported today Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid as saying that whether Umno and BN would contest solo would be a decision for party leaders.

“Umno and BN are parties that are ever ready. If it is the decision of Johor (Umno) (for state elections to be held), I think Umno and BN as a whole are ready to face it.

“Whether we contest solo or with other allies, that will be decided as a consensus by the party’s highest leadership. As vice-president, I have no right to speak on behalf of the party and it all depends on the central leadership,” he was quoted as saying yesterday.

On January 14, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was reported by local daily Berita Harian as saying that Umno was ready to face state elections in Johor if it is called.

In the 56-seat Johor state assembly, Umno’s Hasni as Johor mentri besar leads the state government with 28 seats (Barisan Nasional holds 16 seats while Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia has 11 seats and PAS one), while Pakatan Harapan holds 27 seats.

One seat in the assembly is currently vacant, following the December 21, 2021 death of Bersatu’s Kempas assemblyman Datuk Osman Sapian.

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