KUALA LUMPUR – January 23, 2018: Since the day it was launched, Johor Pakatan Harapan (PH) has talked glowingly about its prospects of unseating Barisan Nasional (BN) from Kota Iskandar in the next general elections.
While Pribumi Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin describes BN’s loss was inevitable due to Johoreans being fed-up with some issues, those close to Johor BN leadership maintain otherwise.
They list seven factors which they feel will ensure that Johor BN, led by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, defeats Pakatan:
1. Johor BN’s track record in modernising the state:
Aside from the state’s eight consecutive surplus budget, the Iskandar Malaysia economic region had recorded a cumulative committed investments of RM244.46 billion from 2006 to 2017, with 54 per cent been realised.
The state’s strategic development plan is also said to be much appreciated by Johoreans.
“For example, the development in Tangkak is centred around its furniture industry, Batu Pahat will be the textile hub while Segamat becomes a food paradise,” said one source.
2. Khaled’s experience at both federal and state:
Before he became the MB five years ago, Khaled was the Higher Education Minister from 2008-2013.
“You don’t have many Johoreans who have the kind of exposure that he has. He is a competent MB because of this wide experience,” said a close aide.
3. Strong political clout among seasoned peer:
Khaled is also said to have earned the respect of his elderly political peers, not only from Umno but also from other BN parties.
“He is well-respected by almost all leaders. They know he has what it takes to modernise Johor,” said the aide.
4. Well-versed in the intricacies of bilateral relations:
Being in a state that neighbours a foreign country, Johor BN has a wealth of experience in the ins-and-outs of Johor-Singapore diplomatic relations.
Khaled is said to have the competence and intellect to handle diplomatic relations with Singapore, an important requirement for a Johor leader.
5. No controversy left unrebutted:
Like any other politician, Khaled was accused of being involved in scandals, among them the RM700, 000 bribery allegation pertaining to a housing issue.
The claim, said one f his men, was clearly false simply because Khalid not in town when he was alleged to have received the bribe.
6. Ensuring the continuity of federal projects:
Although these projects were initiated by the previous administration, the current Johor government has ensured that the development of catalytic projects goes unhindered.
“The Pengerang Rapid oil refinery, the KL-Singapore high speed rail and the Gemas-Johor Bharu electrified double-tracking are able to go on because of the good relationship with federal,” said another source.
7. Close relationship with the Johor palace:
Under the leadership of Khaled, the state government has fostered strong relationship with the palace which is essential in ensuring effective governance.