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Malaysia's state of Johor will hold a snap election within 60 days from the dissolution of its state assembly on Saturday. The news comes on the heels of calls from within the ruling Barisan Nasional alliance to call an early poll after its majority in the state assembly was reduced to just one seat. While UMNO officials have described the decision as guided by concern over political stability, many see the move as motivated by the party's resounding victory in Melaka state election held last November.

  • The Johor election offers an opportunity for UMNO to bolster its position in the federal government and further marginalise its uneasy coalition partner Bersatu. Last summer, tensions between coalition partners resulted in the replacement of then-Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of Bersatu with Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri of UMNO, while the snap poll in Melaka may have inspired UMNO leaders to try and further enhance their standing.
  • A convincing victory for UMNO in Johor would embarass former Prime Minister Muhyiddin, who hails from Malaysia's southernmost state, putting Bersatu in a precarious position ahead of the next general election. Even if UMNO wins the Johor election, it is uncertain if it will seek an early federal election to change the balance of power in Dewan Rakyat and revamp the central administration, before sorting out internal factional conflicts.
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3806 |
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3806 |

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