PH: Johor polls meant to pressure PM to hold GE15

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The Pakatan Harapan (PH) Presidential Council has described the dissolution of the Johor State Assembly as an action to pressure Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to dissolve Parliament and hold the 15th General Election immediately.

In a statement today the pact explained that at a time when the people, especially in Johor, are still plagued by economic issues, the Covid-19 epidemic, and floods, the Johor State Election would only burden the people, further.

Despite their view and reservations, PH has nevertheless decided to contest in the Johor State Election, it said.

“Preparatory issues include distribution of seats, the launch of the election machinery, the nomination of the Mentri Besar candidate as well as any cooperation or political understanding with other Opposition parties will be finalised soon,” it said.

The statement was issued by PKR President, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim; Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) President Mohamad Sabu; DAP secretary -general Lim Guan Eng and United Progressive Kinabalu Organization (UPKO) President, Datuk Seri Madius Tangau.

In the statement leaders of the pact also urged the Election Commission to streamline the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the state election campaign as the number of hospital admissions due to Covid-19 had become stable. There was a high number of second dose recipients which had reached 80 percent and booster shots had given protection for over 30 percent recipients.

Leeway, the leaders said, should be allowed for activities such as ‘ceramah’ and face-to-face meetings during the campaign period of the election.

“Allowing ‘ceramah’ and campaign activities such as going house-to-house, handing out of campaign materials should be allowed with strict adherence to SOPs apart from media access being given to all parties fairly in terms of time and space in print, newspaper or online media.

“The EC is also urged to be mobilised at Malaysian embassies in Singapore, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and other countries to ensure that postal voting can be carried out properly, in addition to a campaign period of at least 21 days, ” the statement said.

They said that the Presidential Council was also determined to deploy the entire strength of the opposition and civil society to win the state election.

“Not only to win back the people’s mandate that was obtained in the 14th General Election, but to form a more stable state government for a better future in Johor,” they said.

The Johor state assembly was officially dissolved on Saturday after obtaining the consent of the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.

The outgoing Johor State Assembly comprised 56 seats with Umno (14), DAP (14), Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (11), PKR (7), Parti Amanah Negara (6), MIC (2), and PAS (1).

The Johor government had a slim majority of one seat with 28 seats compared to the 27 seats held by the opposition bloc in the assembly.

The state government’s position became tenuous following the death of Kempas state assemblyman Datuk Osman Sapian, who is also the former Menteri Besar, on Dec 21 last year.

The Election commission is scheduled to hold a special meeting on Feb 9 to determine the important details and dates, namely nomination day, early voting day, and normal voting day for the Johor State Election.

The Johor polls is the fourth state election to be held since the 14th General Election. State polls were previously held in Sabah, Melaka, and Sarawak. – NST