Hot seats in Johor polls

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Candidates to watch out for in the Johor state election.

With a total of 10 political parties contesting in the Johor election, the number of candidates fighting for just 56 seats in the state legislative assembly is staggering.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) is looking for a landslide win and is contesting each of the 56 seats up for grabs with anchor party Umno running in 37, leaving the remaining 19 to coalition partners MCA and MIC.

But fellow ruling party Bersatu, which leads the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition, as well as the Opposition are shaking things up with their own nominees too.

Malaysians can expect to see a majority of multi-cornered fights on March 12. Some candidates are newcomers while some are making their comeback.

Perling

The Perling state seat will see a three-cornered fight between Pakatan Harapan (PH), Barisan Nasional (BN) and Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Representing PH is Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong who will be up against BN candidate, MCA Pulai division women chief Tan Hiang Kee and Gerakan vice-president Koo Shiaw Lee.

Bernama

As a first-time candidate, Tan expressed hope for a fair fight at the Perling seat.

“I see my nomination as a good opportunity for all women so that we will have more representation in the state assembly.

“I am a local girl and if I win the seat, I pledge to perform my duties responsibly,” she told reporters.

Koo is the candidate from PN.

“Although I wasn’t born here, I had lived in Perling for more than 10 years. I went to both primary and secondary schools here.

“I hope the voters of Perling will give me a chance because I understand and feel everyone’s plight. I am here to make changes,” he said.

As for Liew, the former deputy defence minister expressed hope for local voters to continue choosing PH in Perling.

“My nomination was not only made so that PH can win in Perling but also to show to the people that we have a strong leadership who are ready to be part of both the states and federal administration,” he said.

In the last general election, PH candidate Cheo Yee How won the seat with an overwhelming majority of 19,533, defeating BN candidate Wong You Fong and Muhammad Nazrin Ihsan from Pas.

Skudai

Fresh-faced Marina Ibrahim is facing a three-cornered fight in Skudai.

The Johor DAP publicity secretary and PH candidate will face both PN and BN in her first-ever state election.

Bernama

Marina, who was the former DAP coordinator for DUN Layang-Layang, was given the last-minute support from Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng at a hawker’s centre before walking to the Iskandar Puteri City Hall (MBIP) to hand in her nomination at around 9am today.

Skudai incumbent Tan Hong Pin, who was dropped by Johor chief Liew Chin Tong, also made an appearance to support Marina.

Wearing pink kebarung, as opposed to DAP’s traditional white and PH’s official colour of red, the 34-year-old local community activist walked about 50 meters to the nomination centre accompanied by her all-women team of proposer and seconder.

She will be facing Gerakan’s Khoo Kong Ek for PN and MCA’s Lim Soon Hai representing BN.

Marina is expected to continue PH’s dominance in Skudai as it is the most coveted seat for the Opposition coalition.

In 2018, Tan won in Skudai against S Kanan from BN with a whopping majority of 35,126.

Rengit

Umno supreme council member Datuk Mohd Puad Zakarshi is facing a four-way fight in the Rengit seat under the Batu Pahat federal constituency in the Johor state election.

Kenneth Tee

Despite a prohibition by the authorities for any form of political gathering to prevent the spread of the highly contagious Covid-19, he was graced by some 25 BN supporters following his arrival at the nomination centre.

A handful of supporters from PN were also present to lend support to their candidate Mohammad Huzair Lajis.

The other two candidates are PKR’s Khairuddin Abdul Rahim who is also Senggarang incumbent and Parti Pejuang Tanah Air’s Nizam Bashir Abdul Kariem who is a constitutional lawyer.

Layang-Layang

The Layang-Layang state seat will see another four-cornered fight.

The four candidates are Pejuang’s Ahmad Shafiq Othamah, PN’s Alagathiran Khrisnan, BN’s Abd Mutalib Abd Rahim and PKR’s Dr Maszlee Malik.

Dr Abd Mutalib was the former Layang-Layang assemblymen from 2013 to 2018, after he polled 8,613 votes against PKR’s Mohd Ishak Shir Mohd who got 6,095 votes.

However, he was dropped as a candidate for Layang-Layang during the 14th General Election in 2018 in favour of Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.

During GE14, Onn Hafiz won the Layang-Layang state seat in a three-cornered fight, garnering 7,449 votes against Pakatan Harapan’s candidate (7,085) and PAS’ candidate (1,339).

Abd Mutalib hails from Layang-Layang.

Former education minister Maszlee is contesting in his first state election this time.

Layang-Layang is one of two state seats within his parliamentary constituency Simpang Renggam.

The 47-year-old who made his political debut with Bersatu before leaving to become an independent is fielded in the Johor election as a PKR candidate and is touted to be the party’s offering as the next mentri besar if it and the PH coalition win the March 12 vote.

Bukit Kepong

Former Johor mentri besar and PN candidate Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal will be challenged by three other candidates in the hotly contested Bukit Kepong seat.

Sahruddin will take on BN’s Ismail Mohamad, who is Umno’s Pagoh division chief, Pejuang’s Md Taib Md Suhut and Muda’s Nurafiqah M Zulkifli.

Hairul Anuar Rahim

Sahruddin – who was the assemblyman holding the Bukit Kepong seat – was the Mentri Besar from April 2019 to February 2020 following the collapse of the PH government.

He had replaced the late Datuk Osman Sapian who resigned from the post after 11 months.

Osman passed away in December 2021 following a stroke in October of the same year.

Benut

Johor’s caretaker mentri besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad is seeking to defend his Benut seat for the BN.

He will be up against Senator Datuk Isa Ab Hamid of PN, Haniff@Ghazali Hosman of PH and Iskandar Noor Ibrahim of Pejuang.

Hasni, a seasoned politician, has held senior state executive committee posts before the landmark 2018 general election. After GE14, he became first the Johor Opposition leader before assuming the role of mentri besar when the PH government collapsed in February 2020.

Thomas Yong/The Star

The 62-year-old is known as a gentleman politician and has been commended by even his political rivals for his moderate approach to politics.

As for PN’s Isa, he said he has the experience of knowing what the general public in Benut wants.

“I am a Benut local and had previously worked here as a secondary school teacher,” he said.

PH candidate Haniff said that he felt no pressure going against “heavyweight” candidates like Hasni as he had contested a parliamentary seat before.

“I contested against Pontian MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan in the 13th General Election. But the size of the competition is much smaller this time, and we have more sophisticated election machinery compared to 10 years ago.

“Personally, I have always been prepared, and the majority of the voters here are within my age range, so it is easier to get to know what they want and we hope that all candidates can compete in healthy competition,” he said.

Simpang Jeram

Amanah’s Salahuddin to defend Simpang Jeram seat in four-cornered contest

Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub is being challenged by three other candidates in the Simpang Jeram seat.

Bernama

Salahuddin, the PH candidate who is also Pulai MP, is facing Datuk Lokman Md Don of BN, Mahaizal Mahmor of Pejuang and Zarul@Mohamad Zahrul Salleh of PN.

In the 14th general election, Salahuddin, a former Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, won the Simpang Jeram seat with a 7,687-vote majority, beating Mohd Radzi Amin of BN and two other candidates.

Kota Iskandar

The contest for the Kota Iskandar seat will see a five-cornered fight.

Incumbent Dzulkefly Ahmad of PH will be facing four other challengers in his bid to retain the seat.

Bernama

He will be facing BN’s Pandak Ahmad, PN’s Samsudin Ismail, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)’s Arangkannal Rajoo,  and Pejuang’s Dr Zaini Abu Bakar.

In GE14, Dzulkefly won the seat with a majority of 14,543 votes, beating BN’s Mohd Khairi A Malik and Sallehuddin Mohd Dahiran of Pas.

Puteri Wangsa

BN candidate Ng Yew Aik from MCA will be taking on PN’s Loh Kah Yong and Parti Bangsa Malaysia’s Steven Choong Shiau Yoon, who is also Tebrau MP.

Also in the fray are Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) secretary-general Amira Aisya, Pejuang’s Dr Khairil Anwar Razali and Independent candidate Adzrin Adam.

Amira, 27, has been promoting the participation of active youth leaders for Johor. The lawyer was among the first Muda candidates to be announced.

Larkin

The hotly-contested Larkin state constituency will see a six-cornered contest involving first-time candidates from Muda, BN, PN, PKR and Pejuang, as well as independent hopeful 46-year-old religious preacher Norramadan Buan.

Muda’s candidate is its state information chief Rasid Abu Bakar while BN’s Mohd Hairi Mad Shah is the Johor Umno Youth chief.

Hari Anggara

PN’s candidate is Zulkifli Bujang, a former Bernama and RTM television personality, and also press secretary to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.

PKR’s Dr Zamil Najwah Arbain is the only candidate out of the six who has contested before under PKR in GE14 in Tanjung Surat.

Pejuang’s candiate is Mohamad Riadz Mohamad Hashim.

The Larkin state seat is mainly an urban seat located in the Johor Baru city.

In GE14, Larkin was won by Mohd Izhar Ahmad from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) under Pakatan Harapan (PH) with a majority of 8,590 votes. He defeated BN’s Datuk Yahya Ja’far and Zakiah Tukirin from PAS in a three-way contest.

Kempas

The contest for the Kempas state seat involves a seven-cornered fight with Nornekman Osman, who is a son of former Johor Menteri Besar, the late Datuk Osman Sapian, as one of the candidates.

Nornekman is contesting the seat, which was won by his father in the last general election, as a Pejuang candidate. Osman, who died on Dec 21 last year, won the seat on Bersatu’s ticket.

Mary Victoria Dass

His contenders for the seat include Johor PKR Women chief Napsiah Khamis Maharan, Pulai Umno deputy head Datuk Ramlee Bohani and Nur Faizal Abdullah of PN.

The other three contenders are Independent candidates, namely a private school teacher Mohd Azwan Abd Rahman, former village head Mohd Hambali Munadi, and a contractor, Mohd Suhimi A Rahman.