JOHOR BARU, Nov 21 — Johor Umno is prepared to take on Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition at the polls if its leader Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin withdraws his support for the state government.
Johor Umno deputy chief Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the party is prepared and will not hesitate to lock horns with Bersatu if such threats by the PN chairman materialises.
“PN and Bersatu’s defeat in the Melaka state election yesterday was the price (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin paid for his arrogance over the unprovoked threat last week to withdraw political support for the Barisan Nasional (BN)-led Johor administration.
“For Johor Umno, we are ever ready to take on PN that have been practicing a political culture of intimidation over their allies,” said Nur Jazlan when contacted by Malay Mail today.
He was commenting on Muhyiddin’s threat of triggering political instability in Johor “with a press of a button” if he wanted to on November 10 during the start of the Melaka election campaign period.
Following that, yesterday also saw PN take a beating in the Melaka polls where the coalition’s Melaka chief minister candidate Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and its state chief Datuk Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen lost in their respective seats.
The PN coalition, consisting of lynchpin Bersatu together with PAS and Gerakan, only managed to win two out of 28 seats in the polls.
BN was the overall winner as the coalition secured a total of 21 seats, giving them a comfortable and solid majority to form the next Melaka state government.
Nur Jazlan, a former deputy minister and parliamentarian, said PN’s failure was due to the people’s rejection of Muhyiddin’s overbearing attitude and his coalition’s culture of using political intimidation.
“Muhyiddin must reflect on the future of Bersatu and PN after their severe defeat in the Melaka polls,” he said, adding that the coalition’s Melaka election posters featuring the Pagoh MP’s picture as a strategy also failed to attract voters.
Nur Jazlan, who is confident that BN’s sentiment in Johor has swung in its favour in the past two years, said Johor Umno was not afraid and will not be “blackmailed” by Muhyiddin’s threats of withdrawing support for the state government.
“Johor Umno and BN will welcome a state election if Muhyiddin still insists on withdrawing his support for the state government,” he said.
Nur Jazlan also said BN is also generally prepared to face PN in a bigger field of competition — the next general election (GE15), to prove how relevant PN or Bersatu is in the country’s political landscape.
“Both Umno and BN have already stated our stand of not cooperating with PN for GE15.
“Despite losing badly in Melaka, Muhyiddin is still insistent that PN will be the strongest challenger to BN.
“My advice to him is to prove it,” said Nur Jazlan.
The Johor BN-PN government, led by mentri besar Datuk Hasni Muhammad from Umno, currently has 29 state assembly seats, where 11 are held by Bersatu assemblymen. The Opposition state Pakatan Harapan (PH) has 27 seats.
At present, Johor Bersatu’s seasoned Kempas assemblyman Datuk Osman Sapian is recuperating from a stroke and is said to be unavailable due to his serious condition.
This puts the ruling coalition’s available assemblymen at 28 over PH’s 27.
If any one of the PN-friendly assemblymen withdraws their support from the ruling coalition, it will see Johor having 28 seats each with PN and PH, effectively suspending the state assembly.