Winners and losers in Johor

The Malaysian Insight

BN leaders celebrate as the coalition romps to victory in Johor, last night. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, March 13, 2022.

WITH an appalling voter turnout, Barisan Nasional (BN) swept the Johor elections easily by winning 40 out of 56 seats in the state assembly.

With the lowest ever turnout for a state election, it is hard to say whether Johor’s voters have truly spoken, or if they were simply too politically fatigued to bother.

Such sentiments have handed the state that Pakatan Harapan (PH) won in 2018 to BN on a silver platter, making the Umno-led coalition a clear winner in the elections it called.

The Malaysian Insight takes a look at the winners and losers of the fourth state elections since 2018.


Barisan Nasional

BN has again shown what it can do when the turnout is low and the opposition is not united.

BN critics will argue that the winners’ share of the popular vote does not reflect the 2.59 million people eligible to cast their ballot, but it does not matter in a first-past-the-post electoral system.

BN won when it mattered most and it will govern Johor for the next five years.

The point is this: the opposition could not provide a united front and failed to convince Johor folk why they should not vote for BN.

With the 40 seats, BN now has a supermajority and it can once again ignore the opposition completely. Be that as it may, the Johor win will give BN greater confidence to push for an early general election.

Wouldn’t you if you were BN?

Team Zahid-Najib

Day after day, night after night, Umno’s current and former presidents Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Najib Razak had to endure allegations that they were corrupt and were merely using the Johor polls to push their personal agendas.

However, they kept their nerve and continued to promote the BN message of political stability and it worked.

While this message did not convince enough urban voters, it was sufficient for the rural faithful and BN swept all 19 out of the 20 out of town seats. BN also recaptured the 21 seats it lost to PH and Perikatan Nasional (PN) in 2018, finishing with 40 seats.

Following this success, the pair can march into the Umno general assembly at the World Trade Centre this weekend with their pride intact and their heads held high, despite their legal problems.



Using the PH logo in Malacca, PKR finished zero for 11. Unhappy, PKR turned back to using its own logo in Sarawak and ended with zero for 28.

However, if nothing else PKR does give up easily, and it again used its own logo in Johor to win one out of 20 battles.

After concluding three state polls with just one win out of 59 battles, is it really just a logo issue or are there leadership problems in Anwar Ibrahim’s party?

This is something PKR grassroot members need to seriously consider ahead of party elections this year.

Despite the overall demolition of the opposition, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s Muda did manage to gain a foothold in Johor, picking up the seat of Puteri Wangsa. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Najjua Zulkefli, March 13, 2022.

New parties

There were six new parties – Pejuang, Muda, Parti Bangsa Malaysia, Warisan, Putra and Parti Sosialis Malaysia – contesting 61 seats in the Johor polls.

With the exception of Muda, which won Puteri Wangsa (albeit with some help from PH), all the others lost their seats.

Worse still, all the small-party candidates lost their deposits, meaning they could not even get 12.5% of the votes cast.

Will their fates be any different in GE15?

The opposition

In 2018, a united PKR, Bersatu, DAP and Amanah forced one-on-one battles with BN and cut the ruling coalition to 19 seats, while winning 36.

En route to winning Johor, the four-party opposition took 56.73% of the popular vote, while BN had just 40.36%.

In yesterday’s polls, the same four parties won just 16 seats, despite winning a sizeable percentage of the popular vote.

If their priority is to unseat BN, the opposition needs to rethink its strategies before the next general election.

Their supporters will also have to rethink theirs if they want to deny BN again. – March 13, 2022.

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