Muhyiddin’s seat causing PKR-Muda deadlock

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PKR will provide Muda three seats to contest.

PKR and Muda have yet to strike a deal for the Johor polls as they have been unable to come to an agreement on the seat arrangement, including Gambir, whose incumbent is Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin.

In principle, both parties agree that PKR will provide Muda three seats to contest for the state polls but a stumbling block has been the seat composition.

This led to the statements yesterday where PKR and Muda say they are waiting on each other for feedback.

The ground rule for the seat negotiations is that any seat sought by Muda cannot be from the ones that PKR had contested in the 2018 general election.

This leaves seats contested by Bersatu but was reallocated to PKR after the former quit Pakatan Harapan.

Malaysiakini understands that two of the three seats Muda is seeking from PKR are Gambir and Larkin.

In the 2018 general election, Harapan, through Bersatu’s Muhyiddin, won Gambir with a 3,088-vote majority.

Meanwhile, Bersatu’s Mohd Izhar Ahmad won Larkin with an 8,590-vote majority in the last general election. He quit Bersatu last month to declare support for Umno.

Both seats are Malay majority with a significant non-Malay population. Muhyiddin and Izhar have indicated they won’t defend their seats.

However, PKR sources familiar with the negotiations said Muda’s demands are too hard to swallow.

‘Difficult to accept’

One party source told Malaysiakini that it was difficult for PKR to accept handing over seats with a good chance of winning to Muda.

He added that this was considering that the six seats Amanah and DAP surrendered to Muda were already relatively winnable.

Of the six seats PKR’s Harapan partners gave up for Muda, four were won by the opposition coalition when Bersatu was still part of it.

“It’s a bit difficult to accept…they already have a sure win seat and two more with high chances of winning,” the source said.

The “sure-win” seat is Puteri Wangsa, which the opposition coalition has held since 2013 through PAS and later Bersatu, both of which have quit.

A Johor PKR leader had already expressed her dissatisfaction that Amanah surrendered the seat to Muda.

Umno strongholds

On PKR’s side, it is only willing to offer Sri Medan, Semarang and Benut to Muda.

Harapan, through Bersatu, lost badly in all three seats during the last general election.

The incumbent in Benut is Johor Umno chief Hasni Mohammad, who is also the outgoing state menteri besar. He won the seat with a 4,447-vote majority.

Hasni’s political secretary Zulkurnain Kamisan is the incumbent in Sri Medan which he won with a 6,040-vote majority while Semarang was won by Johor Umno secretary Samsolbari Jamali with a 5,842-vote majority.

All of them served as exco members in the outgoing Johor government.

All three seats have an overwhelming Malay majority ranging from 80 to 90 percent.

The party sources told Malaysiakini that Muda has indicated its willingness to take one of the dangerous Umno strongholds, but not all of them. Malaysiakini has reached out to Muda for confirmation.

PKR and Muda have slightly more than two weeks left to break the deadlock, until nomination day on Feb 26.

Johoreans will go to the polls on March 12. – Malaysiakini