Slim margins for incumbents in north Johor, a crucial battleground in state poll

Parti Pejuang Tanah Air president Mukhriz Mahathir speaking at the party's candidate reveal for the March 12 Johor state election. ST PHOTO: SHANNON TEOH
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MUAR (Johor) - A tiny lane and drainage trench mark the otherwise invisible border between Sungai Balang and Semerah, the two seats in the Johor state assembly secured by the narrowest of margins in the last general election in Malaysia in 2018.

Coupled with rows of mostly shuttered shophouses, this area just outside of Muar - dubbed "Bandar Maharani" in Malay, which means Empress City - reflects how the once proud outpost of northernmost Johor, bordering the more bustling state of Melaka, has stagnated for decades.

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