Johor, Melaka assemblies change sides

In Melaka, Parti Keadilan Rakyat's Muhammad Jailani Khamis (left) and Democratic Action Party's Norhizam Hassan Baktee have hopped on the Perikatan Nasional bandwagon.
In Melaka, Parti Keadilan Rakyat's Muhammad Jailani Khamis (left) and Democratic Action Party's Norhizam Hassan Baktee have hopped on the Perikatan Nasional bandwagon.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM UMNO/FACEBOOK

Perak, too, may switch to PM Muhyiddin's new alliance, but Kedah is staying with PH

The Melaka state assembly is now controlled by a new alliance led at the top by freshly appointed Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

It is the second state legislature that the former ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) has lost at the federal level, with state assemblymen switching sides on Monday. The Johor state legislature changed hands last Friday.

The defections announced on Monday have turned the tables on PH in Melaka.

The situation began last week when Tan Sri Muhyiddin, president of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, took the party out of PH along with another 10 MPs led by a former leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), causing PH to collapse.

The collapse of the PH coalition did not just end the PH federal administration but also triggered changes in several states.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin now heads a Malay-dominated alliance called Perikatan Nasional (PN), or National Alliance in Malay. It comprises Bersatu, Umno, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

PH has been left with three member parties - Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Amanah Negara. Several Bersatu assemblymen, along with former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, remain with PH.

PH won seven of Malaysia's 13 state assemblies in the 2018 general election while its ally Parti Warisan Sabah controls the eighth, in Sabah state. But PH and Warisan could soon be left with just five - Penang, Selangor, Kedah, Negeri Sembilan and Sabah.

Before the recent political crisis, Umno controlled just the Pahang and Perlis state assemblies, while PAS separately administered Kelantan and Terengganu.

GPS ran Sarawak.

These five states, along with Johor and Melaka, are now under the new PN alliance.

MELAKA

Shifting alliances led to Umno's Melaka legislators gaining the numbers needed to form the state government. Its original 13 assemblymen became 17 after it counted in Bersatu and two defectors from PKR and DAP.

The collapse of the PH coalition did not just end the PH federal administration but also triggered changes in several states.

PH is now left with 11 state representatives in the 28-seat assembly, short of the majority it had to form the state government.

During a news conference aired over Facebook, the Melaka defectors - DAP's Norhizam Hassan Baktee and PKR's Muhammad Jailani Khamis - talked about their decision to hop onto the PN bandwagon.

"Today I am acting for the interest of the Malays... I have worked hard, said I want to serve but I became a barua (lackey), I was really a barua," Mr Norhizam said.

"I am coming back to the right path," he added.

Mr Norhizam was an Umno member before joining DAP in 2006.

Mr Jailani said: "I did not see how Pakatan Harapan fulfilled the people's mandate in the last 22 months."

JOHOR

In Johor last week, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar swore in a new Menteri Besar from Umno.

This was despite the PH state lawmakers saying they had 28 assemblymen with them - or half of the 56 lawmakers.

A minimum of 29 assemblymen is needed to form the Johor state government. With neither side holding a majority, PH had declared Johor to be in "deadlock".

The new Johor Menteri Besar, who is from Umno, Mr Hasni Mohammad, insisted last week: "With regards to the appointment (of chief minister), it is the absolute discretion of the ruler and it is in accordance with the state Constitution."

PERAK

Perak might see a switch in power as well this week, with Bersatu's partnership with Umno and PAS tipping the scales against PH.

The new alliance commands the support of 30 assemblymen versus PH's 28.

It is believed that negotiations are taking place regarding the shape of the state government, and who would become Perak's next Menteri Besar.

Perak's chief minister Ahmad Faizal Azumu, who is from Bersatu, would have to tussle with Umno to keep his seat after Perak Umno expressed interest in having its own assemblyman in the job.

KEDAH

In Kedah, five Bersatu assemblymen have voiced support for Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir - the Menteri Besar who is also a son of former prime minister Mahathir.

According to news site The Malaysian Insight, Kedah's Bersatu assemblymen have rallied behind Mr Mukhriz to form a "Pakatan Plus" government that would maintain the status quo.

Kedah's 36-seat assembly is led by PH with 19 legislators, counting the six Bersatu lawmakers including Mr Mukhriz. PAS and Umno have a combined total of 17 assemblymen.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2020, with the headline 'Johor, Melaka assemblies change sides'. Print Edition | Subscribe