THE BATTLEGROUND STATES
IKMAS-Merdeka Center Seminar Series on the 14th Malaysian General Election
“The Battleground States”
Date: 2 May 2018
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Teaching Centre, Chulan Tower, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
The battleground states for GE14 will be Johor, Kedah and Sabah. Johor has traditionally been an UMNO stronghold. However, at the last election in 2013, PR managed to win 16 seats out of a possible 56. The most seats an opposition party had ever won before in Johor was five. Muhyiddin represents the best chance of PH exploiting Najib’s questionable record. He can help the opposition build on its 2013 successes in Johor. Kedah is Mahathir’s birthplace. His son, Mukhriz Mahathir was its Chief Minister until 2016. In 2016, Mukhriz left UMNO and joined his father’s PPBM. The Mahathir family still enjoys support in Kedah, thus might possibly sway the northern Malay support towards them. Shafie, another former UMNO leader, seeks to exploit his support base in the eastern part of Sabah to make momentous inroads in the East Malaysia state. Sacked from Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Cabinet in July 2015 in the fallout over the financial scandal at state-owned 1MDB, Shafie is leading a spirited campaign to end UMNO’s more than two decades’ hold over the state government in the next general election. The key question, as Malaysia heads to a much anticipated and tightly contested election, is whether PH can spring a surprise in Johor, Kedah and Sabah or the opposition split would do enough harm to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.