KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik suggested today that Bersatu could lose all its Johor seats in the next general election, noting the party only secured marginal support from Malay voters in the state.
The former lecturer turned politician reminded Bersatu that it only gained 29.6 per cent of the 434,473 ballots cast by Malay voters in the 17 state seats it contested during the 14th general election.
“Three of these seats will definitely be lost, especially Puteri Wangsa because it is a mixed constituency that Bersatu won because of non-Malay voters who supported (Pakatan) Harapan.
“Four more seats will either be lost or have a slimmer majority because of the large non-Malay demographic, including Gambir which is held by the prime minister,” he said in a Facebook post today.
Perikatan Nasional, headed by Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, is supported by Umno and PAS, the countries two largest Malay-based parties that theoretically could have won more seats than they did in 2018 if their votes were combined.
Maszlee went on to predict that Bersatu candidates might not even gain enough support to regain their deposits in the coming election, claiming that half its existing support would return to Umno while the rest would refrain out of reverence for disputed Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Tun Dr Mahathir was an important factor as many Umno traditional voters in Johor turned to Bersatu or PH at the time. If these votes are taken out, the base vote of the party is around 9 per cent of popular votes.
“This number is not enough to win the Bersatu in the face of three-cornered fights, even if it is against PH later if Tun is no longer with the Bersatu.
“With 9 per cent of the popular vote, it is not hard to imagine the scenario of all the unified candidates in Johor. Everyone will lose their deposits in the GE15,” he said.
Maszlee, the former education minister who is in Dr Mahathir’s faction, then pointedly said that Muhyiddin has been “very generous” with giving control of the state to PN allies since he became prime minister.
“Not only is the mentri besar no longer from PPBM, but the party has also become passive and not as dominant as Umno,” he said.
Bersatu contested 17 state seats in Johor during GE14 but won just eight. The party later secured three additional seats after Umno-elected representatives defected.
In February, Bersatu quit Harapan and formed a new PN government in Johor, with Umno now taking the helm.