JOHOR BARU, Jan 22 — The Johor state government had to call for an early state election in order to win a strong mandate to continue leading, caretaker mentri besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said.
Saying his administration had been reduced to a one-seat majority, he claimed this put it at the mercy of the Opposition, especially in any important decisions.
“This should not happen in Johor and that is why there is a decision to hold a state election.
“As the mentri besar, I need to seek a fresh and new mandate from the people of Johor. This is to develop and make Johor successful,” he said in a media conference at the Johor Umno office in Jalan Yahya Awal here today.
He was accompanied by Johor Umno, MCA and MIC leaders during the announcement.
Earlier, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar gave his royal assent to dissolve the Johor assembly, after granting Hasni an audience at 5pm in the Istana Bukit Serene here.
During the audience, Hasni, who was also accompanied by Johor State Secretary Datuk Azmi Rohani, had presented the sultan with letter seeking the dissolution of the Johor state assembly.
Hasni, who is the Johor Umno chief, said he was forced to seek the premature election due to the death of Kempas assemblyman Datuk Osman Sapian on last December 21.
“I have actually considered holding a Kempas by-election for the state constituency. However, due to the inappropriate timing, especially the floods that hit last December, the plan for by-election did not materialise,” said the Benut assemblyman.
The Election Commission did not call a by-election for Kempas as one was not mandatory since Osman had already served at least three years of his term.
On the coming Johor state election, Hasni said the EC will determine the date once Johor Speaker Suhaizan Kaiat’s officially notifies it of the state assembly’s dissolution.
Hasni pointed out that the agreement to hold an early state election was done after Johor Umno received a mandate from the party’s Supreme Council and president to hold it.
“Besides that, I have also received the consent from Johor Umno and the consent of the Johor Sultan to hold a state election.
“I assure the public that the coming state election will not interfere with the administration of the state government,” he said, adding that the state government will now act as a caretaker state government until after the polls.
He also said discussions on the distribution of seats among the Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties will be held soon.
Rumours of a snap state election started shortly after the death of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s Osman.
His death, whose party is part of the ruling Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition, had put the current state government situation as a one-seat majority in the Johor state assembly.
Hasni leads the state government with razor thin majority of 28 seats. BN holds 16 seats while Bersatu has 11 seats and PAS one.
The opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition controls 27 seats in the Johor state assembly comprising DAP with 14, Parti Amanah Negara (six) and PKR (seven).