JOHOR BAHRU, 15 April 2013 - DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang said that his contest for the Gelang Patah parliamentary seat in the coming general elections (GE) was a high-risk decision, but that he had decided to do it for the sake of Malaysia.
“When I decided to leave the Ipoh Timor parliamentary seat where I had won with over 21,000-vote majority in the 2008 General Elections (GE) to contest in the BN fortress of Gelang Patah (which was won by BN with a 9,000-vote majority in 2008 and 31,666-vote majority in 2004) and which had never been won by the Opposition in the past 12 General Elections in 56 years, it was a high-risk decision,” he explained.
But Lim said he was prepared to take the calculated risks for at least four reasons:
Firstly, it is to target the six parliamentary and 13 state assembly seats in south Johor to pave the way for Pakatan Rakyat to Putrajaya in the 13GE. The six Parliamentary seats are Johor Bahru, Pasir Gudang, Tebrau,. Gelang Patah, Kulai and Pulai.
The 13 state assembly seats are Stulang, Tanjong Puteri, Johor Jaya, Permas, Puteri Wangsa, Tiram, Skudai, Nusajaya, Pengkalan Rinting, Kempas, Senai, Bukit Batu and Bukit Permai.
“Johor Bahru is the only state capital which had been able to maintain UMNO/BN political hegemony since Merdeka in 1957, when other state capitals and urban centres have come under strong Opposition/Pakatan Rakyat influence, namely Kuala Lumpur, Kajang, Ipoh, Klang, Subang Jaya, Kuching, Petaling Jaya, Seremban, George Town, Malacca, Kota Baru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuantan and Sungai Patani,” according to Lim.
“Secondly it was to target a total of 19 parliamentary and 30 state assembly seats in the state of Johor, including the six parliamentary and 13 state assembly seats in south Johor.”
The additional parliamentary seats in the rest of Johor, according to Lim are Tanjong Piai, Kluang, Batu Pahat, Bakri, Labis, Segamat, Sekijang, Ledang, Muar, Ayer Hitam, Sri Gading, Simpang Rengam and Sembrong.
The additional 17 state assembly seats are Pekan Nenas, Mengkibol, Penggaram, Layang-Layang, Parit Yaani, Maharani, Gambir, Tenang and Pemanis.
“This is to ensure that the 13GE will complete the partial “political tsunami” in the 2008 General Elections, which saw the fall of BN in five states and the deprivation of BN’s two-thirds parliamentary majority – propelling the Pakatan Rakyat to win power to form the new Federal Government in Putrajaya after the 13GE,” he elaborated.
“I am not claiming that Pakatan Rakyat can score a bullseye and win all the 19 parliamentary and 30 state Assembly seats in Johore mentioned.”
“In fact, if Pakatan Rakyat can achieve 50 per cent of this target, it is already a ‘phenomenal political revolution’ in Johor, bearing in mind the arrogant boasts of Barisan Nasional leaders just five years ago before the 2008 general elections that they would ensure that Johor would become a “zero Opposition” state!”
Lim believes Pakatan can expect to hit more than 50% success for the its target of 19 parliamentary and 30 state assembly seats in Johor in the 13GE.
“In fact, it would be easier to achieve the objective of winning more than one-third of the parliamentary seats in Johor and help propel Pakatan Rakyat to Putrajaya to form the new Federal Government than to win a simple majority in the state assembly seats to form the next Johor state hovernment in the 13GE,” he opined.
Thirdly, Lim said that the campaign was to end and transform the three BN “fixed deposit” states of Johor, Sabah and Sarawak as the new “fixed deposit” states of Pakatan Rakyat, as these three states hold the keys to Putrajaya in the 13GE.
In the 2008 GE, PR won 82 parliamentary seats while BN won 140 seats.
“If in the 13GE, PR can win at least 40 percent of the total of 83 parliamentary seats in these three states, i.e. 33 out of a total of 83 seats in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak, PR would have exceeded the magic number of 112 for a simple majority of the 222 parliamentary seats,” he outlined.
Finally, his campaign in Johor was to ensure that “Pakatan Rakyat can win with a good and comfortable majority by winning at least 125 parliamentary seats (i.e. with a majority of 28), comprising say 45 seats for PKR, 40 seats for DAP and PAS.”
He believes that by targeting a total of 25 parliamentary seats in the rest of the states which BN had won with less than 55 percent of the popular vote, PR can achieve its target.
The seats he mentioned was Arau in Perlis, Alor Setar in Kedah, Kuala Nerus in Terengganu; Larut, Kuala Kangsar, Kampar and Lumut In Perak; Bentong, Raub and Jerantut in Pahang, Sabak Bernam and Pandan in Selangor; Rembau in Negri Sembilan and Bukit Katil in Malacca.
“These seats are already marginal seats to begin with. Many of these seats have experienced a sizable increase in the number of new voters, many of whom are younger voters who are more attracted to Pakatan’s hope for the future than to be threatened by BN’s scaremongering references to the past,” Lim said.
“Gelang Patah will be my ‘life-and-death’ political battle as I will be fighting not just popular four-term Johor Mentri Besar, but the Prime Minister, Najib Razak, former longest-serving PM Tun Dr. Mahathir and future PM hopeful Muhyiddin Yassin.”
“This is probably the first time in Malaysian electoral history where an Opposition candidate will have to face four such UMNO heavy-weights all in one go.”
“Whether I survive or perish, whether Gelang Patah will end up as my political “kubur” (grave) as exhorted by Mahathir to the people of Johor, I do not know, but I shall not withdraw from the Battle of Gelang Patah, for it has become the Battle of Johor and even the Battle of Malaysia,” an emotional Lim said.