Bersatu information chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan predicts that Umno’s “court cluster” may trigger more state elections after the dissolution of the Johor state assembly today.
Likewise, Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong also blamed the group led by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for the latest snap polls.
Johor is set for a fresh election after incumbent menteri besar Hasni Mohammad – who is from Umno – secured royal assent to dissolve the state assembly today.
In a statement, Wan Saiful said the move was an attempt by the court cluster – named so for the leaders being charged for corruption – whose members were trying to bolster their positions while also distracting from their trials.
“To do so… they must seize power first. I would not be surprised if Johor is followed by other states,” he added.
He said this in reference to allegations by Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin that Umno leaders had wanted him to intervene in their court cases.
Umno and Bersatu were partners in the state government, although they will more than likely be competing against each other in the upcoming state polls.
‘Snap polls result of power struggle’
In a separate statement, DAP’s Liew claimed that the Johor polls were an attempt by Zahid’s faction to trigger a snap election at the federal level.
“The Johor election has nothing to do with the people’s needs. It is the result of a power struggle in Umno.
“Simply put, this sudden election in Johor is just the first salvo to open the path for a snap general election and is just a strategy for (former premier) Najib (Abdul Razak) and Zahid to escape prison,” he said.
Zahid is on trial for two corruption cases.
The court is set to decide whether the former deputy prime minister has to enter his defence in one case involving funds from Yayasan Akalbudi on Monday.
Najib is on trial for the 1MDB and SRC International scandals.
The Court of Appeal last month upheld his guilty verdict in the SRC case.
The official pretext for the Johor snap polls was that the state government had become fragile after Kempas assemblyperson Osman Sapian died last month, leaving Hasni with just a single-seat majority. MKINI
Hasni: Johor govt can’t function based on opposition’s goodwill
The BN-led Johor government with a single-seat majority in the 56-seat state assembly cannot continue to function based on the “goodwill” of the opposition, said incumbent menteri besar Hasni Mohammad.
Hasni said initial considerations were made on whether to hold a by-election for the Kempas state seat that fell vacant after the passing of former menteri besar Osman Sapian last December but the plans did not proceed following major floods in Selangor, Pahang and Johor.
“I am of the view that the state government needs to continue efforts to return Johor to how it used to be.
“A dynamic state, a fast developing state with programmes in the people’s interests.
“These matters must continue but it depends on the state government’s position that can be said is functioning based on the goodwill of the opposition. I feel this (situation) should not at any time happen in Johor,” he told reporters at a press conference with BN leaders in Johor Baru.
Hasni said this following an audience with Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar and the monarch’s consent for the dissolution of the state assembly, paving the way for a state election.
Asked to elaborate, he cited an example of when state assembly speaker Suhaizan Kaiat, from Pakatan Harapan, had given his deciding vote to BN after both the government and opposition reached a draw with 27 representatives each.
“The speaker is not from the government but maybe he had on his own goodwill to ensure the government can continue to run, given the deciding vote to the government.
“That is what I meant by functioning on goodwill. With only one majority, no one can deny the Johor government is unstable,” he said, citing various initiatives under the state budget this year and the state’s long-term potential for development.
Umno aims for more seats
On Umno’s chances, Hasni expressed confidence in the party’s ability to mobilise its machinery, eyeing more seats to contest compared to the last 14th general election.
He added that BN component party leaders are expected to meet soon to finalise seat allocations and candidacy.
Once regarded a BN stronghold, the coalition lost Johor for the first time in 2018 with Harapan taking over.
However, BN regained control of the state following the Sheraton Move. MKINI