JOHOR BARU: Close to two million voters are expected to head to the polls following the dissolution of the Johor state assembly.
The snap polls will be the country’s fourth state election since 2020, after Sabah, Melaka and Sarawak.
Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar consented to the dissolution after a brief meeting with Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad at Istana Bukit Serene at 5pm yesterday.
Hasni, who now heads a caretaker government, said it was important to get a fresh mandate to form a stronger government to ensure the continuity of the state’s development plans.
“We need a strong state government as we only have a one-seat majority now,” he told a special press conference at Johor Umno headquarters here.
The state’s majority fell to only one after the death of Kempas assemblyman Datuk Osman Sapian.
For now, Hasni said they would wait for the Election Commission to set the date for the election.
He had earlier spoken of having to decide on whether or not to go for a state election.
Eventually, he said, he decided on the election to ensure a stronger and more stable state government.
In detailing his decision, Hasni said that there had been a forecast about floods in Johor, following the massive ones in Selangor and Pahang.
“However, our floods have since subsided and all our relief centres are closed. This is an opportune time to have an election,” he said, adding that they were now focusing on post-flood aid programmes.
He stressed that he had “big shoes” to fill as the Barisan Nasional leaders before him had bought much development to the state and he did not want Johor to just become “ordinary” under his watch.
Hasni downplayed Pakatan Harapan’s offer of providing stability to his administration as just “sweet promises”.
He cited the example of a recent deadlocked state assembly sitting after the Opposition filed a motion to be included in the district management committee meeting.
“It led to the Speaker, who is not from the government bench, backing the government as he wanted us to continue to function,” he said.
Hasni also said he did not want to run a government merely based on concessions from the Opposition.
Asked about seat allocations in the polls, he said it had yet to be decided but he was confident of Barisan’s victory.
Hasni was also non-committal about the election candidates and whether he would be defending his Benut state seat.
“Let the party president decide on that matter,” he added.
Asked about voters in Singapore not being able to come back to vote, he said the state had always been supportive of plans to increase the quota allowed for people to travel under the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL).
Hasni had earlier received the green light from all 26 Umno divisions here to go ahead with the state polls.
He had chaired a brief meeting with all his 10 state executive councillors and thanked them for their services.