Following several days of political uncertainty in Malaysia over the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition in the federal government, the Johor Palace announced today (27 February) that the state government will be replaced by a new coalition.
In a statement to the press, private secretary to Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar confirmed that the new coalition includes lawmakers from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) which has since left PH as well as members of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) which was part of the former ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN) that was toppled in the 2018 election.
Of Johor’s 56-member state assembly, BN holds 16 seats, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) has 14, Bersatu has 11, Amanah has 9, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has five, while the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has one.
Following Bersatu’s exit from PH on Monday (24 February) after a day of political manoeuvring and the collapse of the coalition at federal level, Johor state was left with a hung state assembly.
On Wednesday (26 February), Sultan Ibrahim summoned all 56 state assemblymen to the Bukit Timbalan administrative building to share their views with the ruler about the recent political events.
The statement from the palace noted that Johor Chief Minister Sahruddin Jamal (from Bersatu) and BN’s Johor chief Hasni Mohammad had a meeting with the state sovereign Sultan Ibrahim and told him that the new coalition had garnered a simple majority to take over the state government.
According to the statement, 28 members of the state assembly threw their support behind the new coalition while 26 members preferred PH to remain.
“As such, the new coalition has the right to nominate a chief minister, and a new state executive council,” the statement said.
On Tuesday, BN’s Mr Hasni had said that the new alliance was preparing a statutory declaration with the state assemblymen to take over the Johor state government. Mr Hasni claimed that BN had the numbers to form a new government as they had the support of defectors from Bersatu as well as members of Amanah and PKR.
Malaysia’s federal government still hangs in the balance
On the national level, Malaysia’s sovereign Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah is in the midst of interviewing all 222 members of parliament (MPs) individually to determine which political leader commands the majority of the Dewan Rakyat to become the next prime minister.
This move followed the shocking resignation of the country’s seventh premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Monday just as speculations started to swirl of a new coalition being formed to replaced the PH administration, led by PKR’s own Azmin Ali.