JOHOR BARU, Jan 12 — A Johor DAP leader today claimed that Umno is hoping to build on state election victories in order to return itself to federal power.

Johor DAP political education director Alan Tee Boon Tsong claimed Umno’s Melaka election victory has encouraged its Johor chapter to push Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob into an early general election now.

He said this view was communicated in a DAP event last Sunday based on the party’s state chief Liew Chin Tong’s assessment and briefing that any change in Johor’s state politics will have a big impact on the coming 15th general election (GE15).

“Liew explained that Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) victory in Johor during the previous 14th general election (GE14) had enabled a change of government on May 9, 2018.

“This is what Johor Umno is trying to do now, which is to start the move to return to power through Johor by ensuring that PH loses badly,” said Tee in a statement issued today on Johor DAP’s launch of their preparation programme to face both state and federal elections.

He said the event, attended by national and state elected leaders, aims to ensure Johor DAP’s party machinery is ready to face state and general elections that can be held at any time.

Tee, who is also the Senai assemblyman, said due to such a situation, Liew had said the PH coalition and its allies needed a new narrative.

“With that, Johor DAP had an important role to play in restoring victory,” he said.

Tee also said Johor DAP deputy chief and the party’s state election preparatory committee chief Teo Nie Ching had also called on all party members to be united in facing both state and national polls.

He said Teo also pointed out that PH should be open to work with any political parties, including with the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda), under the so-called “big tent” approach.

“Teo added that it would serve as a united Opposition front to defeat Barisan Nasional (BN) and Perikatan Nasional (PN),” he said.

Recently, there were rumours that the Johor government would call an early state election to return a stronger mandate for Umno and BN.

On Monday, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad was reported as saying that no decision has been reached for an early poll, despite his administration holding only a one-seat advantage in the state assembly.

Hasni, who is also the Johor Umno liaison committee chairman, said the government’s razor thin majority currently held in the state assembly is something he needs to look into and assess.

The current Johor government only holds a one-seat majority in the state assembly, following the death of PN’s Kempas assemblyman Datuk Osman Sapian on December 21.

The state government has 28 seats led by BN with 16 seats, Bersatu (11), and PAS (one), while PH has 27 seats.