Premature to Declare New Johor Govt, State in Deadlock Again

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Johor Pakatan now claims support of 28 reps.

Bersih today said the declaration of a new coalition government to replace the Pakatan Harapan government in Johor was premature.

It noted that the Johor palace announcement that the new coalition has the support of 28 assemblypersons to Harapan’s 26 persons had left out two assemblypersons who have not made their stand in the 56-member assembly.

“There is a risk of a hung assembly of 28-28 should the two choose to remain with Harapan and, as such, the declaration of a new state government at this juncture may be premature.

“We urge the Sultan of Johor to allow the assemblypersons to choose for themselves in a special state assembly session on who should form the state government, in keeping with how the Dewan Rakyat will choose the next prime minister,” said the Bersih steering committee in a statement today.

The two assemblypersons who have yet to state their positions were Simpang Jeram assemblyperson Salahuddin Ayub (Amanah) and Puteri Wangsa assemblyperson Mazlan Bujang  (Bersatu).

The Johor ruler had interviewed all assemblypersons on their support yesterday but Salahuddin could not attend as there was a separate interview by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong over the support of MPs at the federal level.

Meanwhile, Mazlan, when he was summoned yesterday, had asked for more time to decide.

If the 54 out of the 56 assemblypersons had stated their support along party lines during the royal interview, the tally would have come to 27 to 27.

However, the 28 to 26 votes in favour of the new coalition suggest that there was one defection from Harapan.

In the run-up to the interview, PKR sources had pointed their finger at the party’s Pemanis assemblyperson Chong Fat Full as a possible defector.

Asked about the speculation yesterday, Chong had been non-committal, stating that he was being “neutral”.

Today, Chong came out in support of Harapan but the royal interview had concluded.

In the latest development, Johor PH announced it has the backing of 28 out of 56 assemblymen tonight.

Johor Parti Amanah Negara chief Aminolhuda Hassan said the coalition now has the solid support from 28 state lawmakers, rejecting an earlier announcement of a new government with the alliance of the state chapters of Bersatu, BN and PAS.

“We have the support of nine assemblymen from Amanah, 14 from DAP and five from PKR.

“The new coalition does not have any advantage to form the next government, but we have and qualify to lead the state,” Aminolhuda told reporters at the Grand Paragon Johor Baru hotel.

Ben Tan

Present were all 28 PH assemblymen from DAP, PKR and Amanah, including Salahuddin.

Chong, who was earlier reported to have supported the new Bersatu-BN-PAS coalition was also standing with other PH reps in a show of support.

Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal had earlier today said the new coalition will present the mentri besar nominees to Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar as part of its preparations to form the state government.

He said the newly formed and still unnamed coalition has already received the endorsement of Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The Johor Palace had issued a statement earlier in which Sultan Ibrahim said he hoped the new coalition government could be formed immediately, following a deadlock in the state.

Bersatu, BN and PAS had at that time claimed to have secured a simple majority in Johor with an unidentified PH assemblyman’s pledge of support tipping the scales in their favour.

Previously, PH had 39 seats in the 56-member Johor state assembly comprising 14 from DAP, 11 from Bersatu, nine from Parti Amanah Negara and five from PKR.

Bersatu withdrew from PH on Monday, following the resignation of its chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister.

The 94-year-old has since been appointed interim prime minister and is reinstated as Bersatu chair.