The focus of the 14GE will not only be on Putrajaya, as to whether Federal power could change hands, but also on eight states led by Johor, as to whether state power and government could change hands.
These are Johor, Kelantan, Pahang, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Terengganu, Kedah, and Perak.
The UMNO/Barisan Nasional Federal Government is a minority government, securing the support of only 47% of the national electorate.
Based on the 13GE results, there are eight states where the political party/coalition forming the State Government has secured 55% or less of the total state votes cast and are vulnerable to change of state government in a general election.
Negri Sembilan: 52%
Perak is even worse than the national scenario, as the UMNO/Barisan Nasional Perak state government has secured only 45% of the total state votes cast, even less than the popular vote won by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is governing with only 47% of the national vote.
All the above eight states (including Kelantan which is under PAS government) are vulnerable to a change of government in a general election.
Of the list, the most remarkable should be Johor, which until the 11th General Election in 2004, was regarded as a totally “impervious” and “invincible” BN “fixed deposit” state to the extent that the 2008 GE campaign theme of the BN in the state was to ensure that Johor will be a “zero-Opposition” state.
Johor has since made a quantum leap, with the BN’s share of the total votes cast in the state slashed from 77.4% in the 2004 GE to 63% in 2008 and to 54% in 2013 – a fall of over 23 percentage points in three general elections in nine years.
This was because of the major breakthroughs made by the Pakatan Rakyat in the 13GE, winning five Parliamentary and 18 State Assembly seats in the state.
The “fall from grace” in the past two general elections have been equally steep for three other BN state governments, like Melaka with fall of 16 percentage points from 69% in 2004 to 53% in 2013; another fall of 16% percentage points from 68% in Negri Sembilan to 52% in 2013; and an 11 percentage point fall for Pahang from 66% in 2004 to 55 % in 2013.
As a result, all these eight state governments are vulnerable to change of power and state government in a general election.
It is an intriguing question whether PAS can maintain its over two-decades-old hold on Kelantan State government in the 14GE, and the real reason for the push for hudud implementation in Kelantan is the belief that this is the most effective way ensure that PAS can preserve its power base in Kelantan.
There are strong differences of opinion, however, such as the conviction that good governance is the best answer to preserving the PAS power base in Kelantan, for any violation of the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework and the important consensus principle for the Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council such as the unilateral push for hudud implementation would jeopardise not only Kelantan but also destroy all hope of re-capturing the Kedah state government.
It is significant that Kelantan and Kedah are the only two states in Peninsular Malaysia where the Barisan Nasional had increased its share of the total votes cast in the state in the last general election, i.e. from 44% to 45% in Kelantan and from 47.4% to 50.4% for Kedah.
The events of the next few weeks will decide whether the efforts in the 13GE creating a political scenario making the eight states, led by Johor, the focus on the next 14GE as to whether state power and government could change hands would be fortified or undermined.