Over at bellwether state Johor, PH and BN are also set for a tough tussle for the state’s 26 federal seats. In GE14, PH won 18 seats while BN clinched just eight. The Johor state government also fell to PH for the first time in Malaysia’s history.
But during the Johor state elections in March this year, BN romped to victory as it captured 40 out of 56 seats in the state legislature, boosting its confidence in calling for snap polls.
PH and BN will also go toe-to-toe for Perak’s 24 federal seats. Since 2008, the two coalitions have been almost equally strong in the state, an analyst told CNA. This time around, PH has decided to go big.
The seat of Tambun in Perak is where the coalition’s leader and prime minister candidate, Anwar Ibrahim, will contest. Mr Anwar’s decision to switch from Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan to Tambun has been criticised by his political opponents, who label him as an outsider.
Analysts believe Mr Anwar’s presence and the attention he generates could push PH over the line in Perak, but he faces stiff competition in Tambun against PN’s candidate Ahmad Faizal Azumu, a local who won the seat in 2018 by more than 30,000 votes.
BN chairman and UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will also defend his seat of Bagan Datuk in Perak. While BN has publicly declared Mr Ismail Sabri as its candidate for prime minister, analysts believe Ahmad Zahid is gunning for the top post.
This is a point that opposition coalitions have harped on over the course of the campaign, prompting Mr Ismail Sabri to come out and defend his position several times.