KLUANG, 31 MAR: Bukit Bendera MP, Liew Chin Tong, has been announced by DAP as its candidate for the Kluang parliamentary seat here in Johor. The announcement was made by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng here last night.
Liew who won the Bukit Bendera constituency in Penang in 2008 with a majority of 16,000 votes has decided to leave his “safe” seat to vie for a much tougher Kluang seat in an effort to help Pakatan Rakyat to win as many parliamentary seats as possible for the Putrajaya aim.
The last time DAP won the Kluang seat was in 1978 before it was wrested by BN through its MCA candidate.
The MCA has since held the seat but the 2008 political tsunami which did not affect Johor that much then is expected to impact the state this time around. Johor is dubbed as one of BN’s safe deposits, besides Sabah and Sarawak.
Liew is the second national DAP leader announced to contest in Johor. DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang will also contest in Johor, vying for the Gelang Patah parliamentary seat.
Liew to face MCA Deputy Minister
The incumbent Kluang Member of Parliament is the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Hou Kok Chung. Speculation is rife that Hou will be replaced by the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Senator Gan Ping Shou as the MCA candidate for the seat in the upcoming 2013 election.
In announcing Liew’s candidacy, Lim Guan Eng said that the Kluang and Johor voters would not lose out to choose DAP because Liew has been slated for at least a Deputy Minister post once Pakatan Rakyat forms the Federal Government.
According to Lim, Liew has gained experience from his stint as the Bukit Bendera MP in Penang since 2008 where he had been instrumental in assisting the state government to craft policies for the people, in particular the lower income group.
After the announcement was made, Liew rushed off to a speaking engagement jointly organised with PAS held here last night. Comfortable in front of the crowd of mostly Malays, Lim expressed the desire to learn from the people of Kluang to assist them and offer the best service as their elected representative.
“When I was given the mandate by the people of Bukit Bendera, I learnt a lot from my voters which taught me how to serve them and know that they want. Not only local issues, but the voters also wanted me to bring up national issues in Parliament,” he said after the event.
Daring to take up the challenge
Liew and Pakatan believe in the strategy of “Malays voting DAP and Chinese voting PAS” – meaning that voters of all races are unafraid to choose any Pakatan Rakyat candidates, it is a winning formula to wrestle Kluang and form the new government.
Kluang has 83,000 voters, of which nearly 51 per cent are Chinese, 38 per cent Malay and 10 per cent Indians. The seat has been in MCA hands for the past 30 odd years.
Liew said he left the ‘safe’ constituency of Bukit Bendera to take up the challenge in Kluang in a bid to bring hope to Johoreans with a new government that is clean, just, and puts the people first.
“In this struggle, we cannot only settle for safety in our comfort zone. We must dare to take on bigger challenges for the greater good. With good efforts and strategies, with the support of the people, we can surely taste a good reward,” he said. – The Rocket