February 23, 2023
KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia is likely to hold simultaneous polls in July in six states where elections are due this year, after state chiefs reached a consensus on Wednesday to dissolve their respective state assemblies in the last two weeks of June.
Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari made the announcement on Facebook, saying the Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu leaders had met in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Conference of Rulers meeting.
The six state assemblies are likely to be dissolved before the Hari Raya Haji holidays starting on June 26, and paves the way for the Election Commission (EC) to hold simultaneous elections for the six states in July. The EC typically holds polls just over a month after a state assembly is dissolved.
The state elections will be a crucial barometer of the people’s reception towards the current federal government led by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, which has been in power since November 2022.
Mr Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan coalition is the incumbent in three states: Malaysia’s most populous state Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Penang. His party Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leads Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, while PH member Democratic Action Party (DAP) leads Penang.
Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu are led by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), which is part of the opposition coalition Perikatan Nasional (PN).
The six state chiefs have regularly mooted simultaneous polls since the turn of the year, as the country looks to lower its political temperature and also its election costs after having had to hold an election every year since 2020.
Following the collapse of the first PH administration in 2020, the country saw mid-term elections in Sabah in 2020, Melaka in 2021, and Johor in 2022, on top of a scheduled election in Sarawak in 2021.
In late 2022, Parliament was dissolved to pave the way for snap polls, which resulted in no clear winner, before Datuk Seri Anwar was appointed the Prime Minister after managing to stitch together a loose coalition with a parliamentary majority.
Despite failing to form the federal government, PN can be optimistic about its chances at the state polls, judging by its performance at the 2022 general election where it won all but one federal seat contested across Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan. The coalition also made inroads in Selangor and Penang, two states considered to be PH’s stronghold.