JOHOR BAHRU, Aug 18 — Johor Barisan Nasional (BN) should not be too confident about repeating its landslide win in the last state election when the 15th general election (GE15) is held, said its chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad.
The former Johor Menteri Besar said based on observations and studies, especially after the Johor state election last March, the coalition could win only 10 of the 26 parliamentary seats in the state, far short of the target set by the federal leadership.
According to him, the 10 parliamentary seats are Parit Sulong, Sembrong, Mersing, Tenggara, Kota Tinggi, Pontian, Pengerang, Ayer Hitam, Tanjung Piai and Tebrau.
“The central leadership has set its hope by instructing Johor BN to contribute at least 20 parliamentary seats. However, based on our readings, so far we are confident of winning only 10 seats, including several constituencies which are still 50-50.
“(But) It is not impossible to win 20 seats; we need to come together and assess our strength and work out the best formula,” said Hasni.
Hasni, who is Johor UMNO chief, said this when speaking at the simultaneous opening of UMNO branch meetings in the Tebrau division in Ulu Tiram here last night.
Out of the 26 parliamentary seats Johor BN contested in GE14, it won only eight – seven by UMNO (Parit Sulong, Sembrong, Mersing, Tenggara, Kota Tinggi, Pontian and Pengerang) and one by MCA ( Ayer Hitam).
In December 2018, Mersing MP Datuk Dr Abd Latif Ahmad joined Bersatu, reducing BN’s share of parliamentary seats to seven.
However, Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng of MCA won the Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat in a by-election on Nov 16, 2019, restoring BN’s share of seats to eight.
Hasni, who is Benut state assemblyman, also said it was not an issue for him that he was not appointed as Menteri Besar after leading BN to win 40 of the 56 seats in the last state election.
“UMNO continues to cooperate with the royal institution, working together in forming a strong government. Today, it (government) is led by a young team which should be given space and opportunity to continue showing their capability and leadership,” he added.
In a lighter vein, Hasni also touched on the possibility that he might contest a parliamentary seat in GE15.
“Pontian (parliamentary seat) belongs to the UMNO secretary-general (Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan) … its division chief is the state UMNO chairman (Hasni). Talk is that he would be given a chance to contest a parliamentary seat. What do you think?
“But never mind, that is a secret of Pontian people, but I believe anyone can win in that seat,” he added.