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Election atmosphere in the air — Lim Mun Fah

FEB 11 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will attend the chingay parade organsied by the Johor Bahru Old Chinese Temple on 12 February 2012. It is indeed an unprecedented major even in the history of the century-old temple. Not long ago, the Prime Minister has also announced that the parade has been awarded national heritage status by the Government.

As the next general election seem to be approaching, the election atmosphere has inevitably filled the air, including the annual chingay parade.

Interestingly, Johor will show its unparalleled political status in the next general election.

Traditionally, Johor is a fortress of the BN. It is another fixed deposit state of the BN carrying high expectations, in addition to Sabah and Sarawak.

Meanwhile, the Pakatan Rakyat has also listed Johor as a frontline state, and even called for a regime change.

DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang, however, has made it very clear that the Pakatan Rakyat must achieve good results in Johor, but it does not mean that they want to take over the state government. “A shift in one-third of the seats towards the opposition is enough to signal a major change in the national political landscape,” he added.

In other words, Lim hopes to realise the dream of taking over the federal regime through winning one-third of seats in Johor, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak.

In fact, Lim understands that winning one-third of seats is a better way of saying to encourage party members and supporters. To put it negative, it means that it is quite impossible for the Pakatan Rakyat to win the federal regime unless if it is able to gain one-third of seats in Johor, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak.

As for taking over Johor, it is obvious that Lim is not having the confidence to do so yet at the moment. It might be possible to achieve after two or more general elections. The most important factor would be the attitude of Malay voters.

Johor PAS chief Mahfodz Mohamed also admitted that it is more difficult to fight for Malay votes in Johor, compared to Chinese and Indian votes. According to him, a poll showed that 70 per cent of Chinese voters and 50 per cent of Indian voters are supporting PAS.

Since it is unlikely to take over Johor, is the target of winning one-third of seats in Johor more pragmatic for the Pakatan rakyat?

There are 26 parliamentary seats in Johor and the current situation is, the BN is holding 25 seats with 16 seats occupied by Umno, seven seats by the MCA, one by the Gerakan and another one by the MIC. Meanwhile, the Pakatan Rakyat is holding only one seat, occupied by the DAP.

It means that the Pakatan Rakyat must win another eight seats to achieve the target of one-third, or nine seats.

For the Pakatan Rakyat, the Johor Umno is too strong and thus, the eight seats eyed might be occupied by the MCA, Gerakan and MIC. However, would the anti-incumbent fever strong enough to help the Pakatan Rakyat win nine seats in Johor? Obviously, it is a big challenge that even requires a little miracle to achieve.

In any case, the battle in Johor affects the federal regime and thus, it is worthy of our patience to wait and see the move of Najib at the chingay parade! —

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.


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