At a dinner event hosted by a neighbourhood association, this writer was repeatedly asked whether the Johor state election and the country’s 15th General Election (GE15) will be held soon.
“That depends on who the question is aimed at,” answered this writer.
Given Barisan Nasional especially Umno’s resounding victory in the recent Melaka state election, both parties would agree to have an election administered this year, as to keep their winning momentum going. But even so, the closest we’re looking at would be Johor’s state election, despite the UMNO-led state government holding the majority with one extra seat, following the death of Datuk Osman Sapian recently.
Although the political scenario is different compared to Melaka; DAP, Amanah, Pas and Bersatu holds a tighter grip in Johor compared to Melaka.
However, BN and Umno prides itself in its party machinery and fighting spirit.
Just like Melaka, BN and Umno wants to contest alone in Johor. The success of the Melaka state elections has taught them that there is no need to share power with other parties. Surely, they would replicate the same strategy in Johor as by doing so, it will ease the formation of state governments, and the appointment of Exco members.
Pas has made it clear that they too are ready to contest thus leaving Bersatu on its own.
This would be the given situation unless all three; Pas, Bersatu and BN agree to cooperate as one under Perikatan Nasional (PN).
After the state elections in Sarawak and Melaka, the opposition’s morale and spirit are extremely low, and they require time to recuperate from both state elections.
Previously, Pakatan Harapan won on a unique package and scenario but now it’s different as voters are looking and asking for a stable and effective administration. In this context, no one can deny that only three parties have a structured machinery at the grassroot level, which is Umno/BN, DAP and Pas.
For PKR and Pas, what happened in the Melaka and Sarawak state elections reflected their position within the people’s minds.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should reflect if there is enough focus and attention given to the readiness of his party, should a state election be called.
The people want an alternative, credible leadership, particularly after what they witnessed in the past two years what happened to PH after the GE14.
With the floods receding in Johor, leaving less than 100 victims in flood relief centres, a state election could be called any time.
But of course, the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar will have the final say. If UMNO wants an election but the Sultan doesn’t give the green light, it still won’t happen.
As for GE15, only the prime minister has the power to dissolve the Parliament.
Based on the agreement with the opposition parties, the Dewan Rakyat will only be dissolved after July this year.
But the question now is whether the opposition themselves want the elections to happen.
The current prime minister is not the president of his own party, so his position is considered unique as this would be the first time that the country’s prime minister is not from the top party leadership.
Now the question is, what will he do if his party president and own party wants a general election to be held within the next few months?
"BACK AND FORTH” is a column written by Sinar Karangkraf Group Editor-in-Chief and Chief Content Officer, Rozaid Rahman.