Tok Mat: Majority in party want Umno to contest solo in Johor poll

(MMO) – The majority in Umno wants the nationalist party to contest the Johor state election just under the Barisan Nasional (BN) banner, its deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said today.

However, the politician known as Tok Mat said its top leadership will still consider whether it should cooperate with its Muafakat Nasional (MN) ally, PAS, and make a decision before the state election starts.

“We will examine and study the matter but for now, the majority of the leaders at the division and grassroots levels want BN to go solo in this election.

“However, the top leadership will look at the matter thoroughly before making a decision so that it will be for the benefit of BN,” he told a press conference after a meeting with Johor Umno, MCA and MIC leaders which was broadcasted live via Umno Online this afternoon.

Yesterday, Malaysiakini reported PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man voiced disappointment that Umno was only offering his party four seats should they cooperate in the Johor elections.

Tuan Ibrahim said the Islamist party is keen to contest all the seats which BN failed to win in the 2018 general election.

In today’s news conference, Mohamad said seat negotiations within BN component parties were not yet final.

He said the coalition is looking for the best formula that will ensure Johoreans will give the mandate back to BN.

“We have not come to the candidates yet but our formula is to ensure the mandate is returned to BN.

“This is why the election is being held, to get back the mandate to BN,” he said.

The former Negri Sembilan mentri besar indicated that all parties will be tested as Johor could be the first election where 18-year-olds could be voting now that the Undi18 law has been gazetted.

“BN is not the only one facing young voters. All the parties will be facing the same issue. It will be up to the respective parties to convince them,” he said.

The Election Commission is scheduled to meet on February 9 to decide the nomination and polling dates for Johor.

The Johor state assembly was dissolved last Saturday.

Prior to its dissolution, the government was led by Datuk Seri Hasni Mohammad from Umno with just 28 seats out of 56, holding a one-seat advantage over the Opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH).

BN held 16 seats while Bersatu has 11 seats and PAS one.

The PH coalition held 27 seats with the most by DAP (14), followed by Parti Amanah Negara (six) and PKR (seven).