Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin casts his ballot at the SMK Sri Muar polling station in Muar, Johor March 12, 2022. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
MUAR, March 12 ― Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is upbeat about his coalition’s chances in the ongoing Johor state election as he joined the morning throng of voters who turned out early to cast their ballots.
The Pagoh MP who is not contesting a state seat this time arrived at the SMK Sri Muar polling centre with his wife Puan Sri Noorainee Abdul Rahman in a Toyota Vellfire at about 9.10am to cast his vote.
“Whatever the outcome is, we will respect it,” he told reporters briefly outside the polling centre after casting his vote.
He also disclosed that he had voted for PN’s candidate for the Maharani state seat, Abd Aziz Talib, saying he didn’t want to keep it secret although that is his right to do so.
Maharani is one of the hotly contested state seats in Johor this time. Apart from the PN candidate, there are five others who have thrown their hats in.
The Barisan Nasional candidate is Noor Farah Shamsuddin while Pakatan Harapan is fielding Nor Hayati Bachok. The others are: Riad Ahmad who is Parti Pejuang Tanah Air Malaysia, Ahmad Hasni Asmui Md Salleh from Parti Bangsa Malaysia, and independent candidate Lim Kin Joo.
Muhyiddin looked cheerful and even made time to banter with the press.
“I was told that Muar was congested from yesterday onwards. Maybe this is a good sign.
“To me this is important because a low voter turnout will not reflect the reality of the people’s wish for a new state government,” he added.
He also took the opportunity to urge Johoreans eligible to vote to go out and make it count so that the new state administration will be a reflection of their wish.
Muhyiddin is also president of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, which anchors the PN coalition together with Islamist party PAS and Chinese-majority Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia.
With Covid-19 still and the need to respect the democratic process, strict compliance of standard operating procedures (SOP) were observed at the polling centre.
In line with existing SOP, two officials donning full personal protective equipment will perform sanitisation on the ballot boxes, voting booth and the common voting area to ensure they were free from possible contamination hourly.
About an hour after Muhyiddin’s departure, the BN candidate for Maharani, Noor Farah too arrived at SMK Sri Muar to cast her vote.
As early as 7.30am, a noticeable queue of some 30 people had already begun to form outside the polling centre, despite the centre opening only at 8am.
A total of 1,021 polling stations were opened for the voting process today to allow 2,539,606 ordinary voters, out of 2,597,742 registered voters, to exercise their right.
Crucially, the state polls will go down in the history books as the first time that voters aged 18 to 21 get to participate in the election process in Malaysia.
There are 239 candidates from 15 political parties contesting for 56 state seats in this state election.