Pakatan Harapan is scheduled to meet youth-based party Muda tomorrow for seat negotiations in the upcoming Johor state election.
Johor PKR deputy chief Jimmy Puah and Johor DAP deputy chief Teo Nie Ching confirmed the meeting between Harapan and Muda when contacted.
Puah said the meeting is set for 3pm on Sunday, and the deputy chiefs in the three Harapan parties will lead the negotiations team respectively.
When asked how many seats PKR is willing to allocate for Muda, he said it depends on which seats Muda is asking for.
“We don’t know how many seats Muda wants to contest and where the seats are yet. The consideration and decision will only be made after we get the information,” he said.
Teo hopes that Harapan and Muda can complete the seat negotiations as soon as possible. However, she said there was no firm deadline for negotiations to conclude yet.
Under the current arrangement between the three Peninsular-based parties in Harapan, PKR and Amanah are taking 20 seats each, while DAP is taking 16 seats. There are 56 seats in the Johor state assembly.
The three parties have the option of giving their allocated seats to other opposition parties, including Muda, Warisan and Pejuang.
When contacted, Johor Muda chief Mohd Azrol Ab Rahani declined to confirm the exact date on when the meeting with Harapan will be held, saying only that it would be before the Chinese New Year next Tuesday.
He expressed Muda’s intention to avoid crowding the field in the election, which is based on the first-past-the-post system.
“Cooperation (with Harapan) has not been confirmed yet because we don’t know if the seat discussion will go well.
“We will try to negotiate to avoid multi-cornered fights; we’ve targeted several seats but we’re not sure if Harapan could accept it.
“Hopefully, all is well with the discussion,” said Mohd Azrol.
He refused to reveal how many seats Muda is seeking but confirmed that Puteri Wangsa was one potential seat they are eyeing.
“There is a high possibility. We try to see and discuss (with Harapan),” he said.
Puteri Wangsa was won by Bersatu’s Mazlan Bujang in 2018. He quit the party recently and is widely speculated to be rejoining Umno. However, he said he may not contest in the state election.
Two days ago, Johor PKR Women’s leader Napsiah Khamis revealed that the Puteri Wangsa seat had been given to Amanah.
She expressed her dissatisfaction with this decision in a Facebook post.
Muda previously sought to contest under the Harapan banner in the Malacca polls.
However, talks fell through after PKR and Amanah decided to field two Umno defectors as candidates.
Meanwhile, Warisan is still assessing the ground and will decide whether to join the fray in Johor soon.
When asked if Warisan will work with Harapan to avoid multi-cornered fights, the party’s vice-president Junz Wong did not rule out the possibility.
“Yes, we will consider the options. In politics everything is possible,” said Wong.
According to data from 2018, more than 10,000 voters in the Pasir Gudang area are diaspora from Borneo, with several thousands of them Sabahans.
A ‘Pasar Muafakat Sabah Johor’ was built in the area in 2018.
When asked if the Sabah-based party would be interested in contesting there, Wong confirmed that the southern Johor area is one of their targets.
There are two state seats under the Pasir Gudang parliamentary seat, which are Johor Jaya and Permas.
Meanwhile, Johor Pejuang deputy chief Nornekman Osman said the party is sticking with its decision to go solo in the Johor election for now.
However, he said the final decision would be made at the party’s national level.
Pejuang previously said it wanted to contest 42 state seats in Johor.
If Pejuang doesn’t cooperate with Harapan, the Johor polls could be a four-horse race with BN and Perikatan Nasional as the other competitors.
The 56-seat Johor state legislative assembly was officially dissolved on Jan 23. The Election Committee has set Feb 9 to announce the date of polling day and related details. – Malaysiakini