RSIS Webinar on “The Johor State Election Outcome: What Does It Portend for UMNO/Barisan Nasional?”
Johor, whose economy has been severely affected by the two-year COVID-19 pandemic and border closure with Singapore, will be holding its state election on 12 March 2022. This was triggered by key UMNO leaders who argue that its ruling coalition’s single-seat majority is untenable. They claim that Johor needs a more stable and robust government via a greater control of the state assembly by UMNO/Barisan Nasional. They point to UMNO’s recent winning streaks in Sabah and Melaka state elections as the latest signs of support returning to UMNO. If UMNO delivers a strong showing in Johor, they would likely press for an early General Election (GE) so that UMNO will be returned to form a stronger federal government
UMNO has sought to recover its domination of Malaysia’s political landscape after its defeat in the 2018 GE. Its key leaders were instrumental in the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional governments in the last two years. They skilfully leveraged the weaknesses of the Opposition and Bersatu. However, it is unclear if UMNO and its coalition, Barisan Nasional, have overcome their own weaknesses that had led to the 2018 rout, and what partnerships they would need to build to regain full control of the federal government after the next GE.
This webinar will discuss:
- the implications of the Johor state election results and whether they are relevant indicators for the next GE;
- the priority issues of concern for voters across various constituencies and socioeconomic groups; and
- the dynamics for cooperation and competition within UMNO and Barisan Nasional, and with other parties under Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional.
About the speakers
Hamidin Abd Hamid is Associate Professor at the History Department of Universiti Malaya. He is also Research Fellow at ILHAM Centre, which conducts independent research on Malaysian politics, and Advisor to the Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS), Malaysia. He was Founder and CEO of the Razak School of Government (2010-2016). He is an expert on Malaysian politics, African history, administration, and international politics and relations. His works have been published locally and internationally, including a book on Malaysia-Africa Relations (2003), a biography of Tun Hussein Onn (2006), and a collection of Tun Razak’s Speeches (2018).
Fui K. Soong is Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Strategic Engagement (CENSE), the public policy advisory and research unit of CENSE Media. She has worked in the area of research for the last 20 years, and specialises in combining ground research with identification of market gaps and consumer/client needs. She headed the Institute of Strategic Analysis and Policy Research (INSAP) from 2004 to 2008 and was the first Malaysian to head the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) from 2008 to 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from University of Western Australia (UWA) and Masters of Economics (Econometrics) from Universiti Malaya.