A webinar to analyse the outcome of the Johor State Election was held on 16 March 2022 by RSIS.
Johor, whose economy has been severely affected by two years of the pandemic and border closure with Singapore, held its state election on 12 March 2022. UMNO won by a landslide victory, its second after last year’s Melaka elections.
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 where they skilfully leveraged the weaknesses of the Opposition and Bersatu.
The Johor election was triggered by key UMNO leaders who argued that its previous ruling coalition’s single-seat majority was untenable. They claimed that Johor needed a more stable and robust government via greater control of the state assembly by UMNO/Barisan Nasional.
While UMNO has now achieved a supermajority in the Johor and Melaka state assemblies, it is unclear if UMNO and its coalition, Barisan Nasional, have overcome their 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.
Within this context, the following topics were discussed at the webinar:
- The implications of the Johor state election results and whether they are relevant indicators for the next GE.
- The priority of issues for voters across various constituencies and socioeconomic groups.
- The dynamics for cooperation and competition for UMNO/Barisan Nasional with other parties under Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional.
Speaking at the webinar were Dr Hamidin Abd Hamid, an Associate Professor from the History Department at Universiti Malaya and Research Fellow at ILHAM Centre; and Ms Fui K. Soong, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Strategic Engagement (CENSE) in Malaysia.