JOHOR BAHRU — Chants of “bubar Parlimen” (dissolve Parliament) greeted Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob when he visited the Barisan Nasional (BN) war room tonight after the coalition’s big win in the Johor elections.
Unofficial results show BN has secured a two-thirds majority in the 56-seat Johor state assembly.
The chants reflect the desires of senior Umno leaders who have put pressure on Ismail, who is prime minister, to call for early general election before Parliament’s term expires in mid-2023.
Ismail’s government, which came to power in August last year, has received the backing of Pakatan Harapan (PH) to stay until Parliament’s term ends.
However, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said GE15 needed to be expedited to restore political stability following the fall of the PH government in March 2020.
Despite Umno’s wishes, the ball is in Ismail’s court as only the prime minister can advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the dissolution of Parliament to pave the way for fresh elections.
BN’s rivals, PH and Perikatan Nasional, are opposed to a snap general election at a time when the country was still struggling with Covid-19.
In the face of Umno’s pressure, DAP organising secretary Loke Siew Fook recently proposed a second Memorandum of Understanding between the opposition and Ismail’s government to avoid the need for an early general election.