Fate of Kedah govt, 3 others left hanging by PPBM pullout

PPBM’s withdrawal from Pakatan Harapan has left the Kedah government helmed by menteri besar Mukhriz Mahathir the most vulnerable.

PETALING JAYA: PPBM’s pullout from Pakatan Harapan (PH) yesterday has left several state governments in a minority position, with Kedah – the home state of Dr Mahathir Mohamad – being most vulnerable.

In Kedah, with the absence of PPBM, PH is outnumbered by PAS and Barisan Nasional (BN). The fate of three other important states is hanging in the balance.

PPBM’s crucial votes leave them in a position to determine the balance of power in Perak, Melaka and Johor, but the immediate worry is Kedah, which has strategic and psychological importance for the party.

Mahathir’s son, Mukhriz, the PPBM deputy president, is also the Kedah menteri besar, despite his party commanding only six seats in the 36-member state assembly.

While PPBM was part of PH, the coalition held a two-seat majority, allowing it to form the state government.

Without PPBM’s six votes, Kedah PH is outnumbered 13-17 by PAS and BN, while PPBM will be unable to form the state government on its own.

For Mukhriz to remain in power, PPBM must either reconcile with its former PH partners and carry on with a two-seat majority – or link up with PAS and BN, for a commanding 23-13 hold of the state assembly.

In Perak and Melaka, PH is evenly matched against BN-PAS, and PPBM’s two votes in each state place it in a kingmaker position, able to determine who will hold a majority and thus form the state government.

In Johor, PH has a 28-17 vote advantage against the BN-PAS combination, but PPBM holds a crucial 11 seats. If PPBM sides with the BN-PAS alliance, the state assembly would be hung, with the two sides commanding 28 votes each.

Fresh elections might be needed unless the parties can negotiate a clear majority for either side.

PH is in the clear in the two richest states in the peninsula – Selangor and Penang – where PAS, BN and PPBM have only a tiny presence.

The PKR-run Selangor government has a commanding 45-6 advantage over the BN-PAS total, and PPBM’s five seats will have no effect on the position of the state government.

Similarly, in Penang, the PH state government commands 35 seats to just three held by BN and PAS. PPBM has two seats in the state assembly.

All the other states remain unaffected by the turmoil in Putrajaya. PAS remains dominant in Kelantan and Terengganu, BN in Pahang and Perlis, and Warisan in Sabah.