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Lim Kit Siang's swan song

  • 2018 will very likely see LKS going down to the battlefield for the last time. Sure enough he wants a perfect conclusion to sum up his decades-old political struggle in this country. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

By LIM SUE GOAN
Sin Chew Daily

After the 2013 general elections, DAP once again puts the southern state of Johor as its frontlne state, and on an expanded scale!

The intensity of the battles in Johor will drag along with them the sentiments of Chinese voters nationwide, even their voting trends.

There are resemblances in DAP's Johor strategy to the 2013 election.

Lim Kit Siang picked Gelang Patah as DAP's base for a large scale onslaught in Johor five years ago. It is Ayer Hitam this time round.

However, there is one difference. In 2013, Umno made the last-minute move to take over the MCA seat by fielding the former MB Abdul Ghani Othman in hope of defeating LKS and crippling DAP's advances in the state.

This time, DAP sends its state chairman Liew Chin Tong to Ayer Hitam to challenge MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong.

Additionally, LKS led a contingent of young aggressive contenders in the likes of Liew Chin Tong and Teo Nie Ching to head down to Johor in 2013, and successfully took down Gelang Patah, Kulang and Kulai.

And now, Damansara Utama state assemblywoman Yeo Bee Yin will be sent to the battleground state and it is rumored that Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo and Selangor state assembly speaker Hannah Yeoh will also head south.

LKS has vowed that there are no safe zones for DAP leaders and that they must be prepared to take the risks, meaning the party is determined to take the plunge in order to unseat the BN administration in Putrajaya. LKS himself may likely walk out of Gelang Patah to take on MCA in the latter's safe zone.

Why is DAP putting all the eggs in Johor and not other states? Johor has always been BN's fortress, MCA's base. Four of MCA's seven parliamentary seat won are in Johor, namely Ayer Hitam, Tanjung Piai, Tebrau and Labis.

To take down BN at federal level, Pakatan Harapan must first capture Johor. Consequently, DAP is expected to field its strongest candidates in these four constituencies, giving the public an impression that the party is indeed trying to flush out MCA.

Liew Chin Tong says PH aims to win at least 100 seats in Peninsular Malaysia, including ten additional seats each in Johor and Kedah, in order to form a strong government. Among the 26 parliamentary seats in Johor, the opposition only managed five in the last election. So, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

LKS explained why he picked Johor as the battleground state in the last election. He said the political tsunami had yet to reach a peak in the 2008 election, stretching from the north all the way until only Negeri Sembilan, and he wanted to complete the unfinished mission to sweep the tsunami across the central and southern parts of the peninsula in a bid to uproot Umno and MCA from their strongholds.

This, coupled with the influences of Muhyiddin Yassin in northern parts of Johor, and Mahathir's in the rural areas, should put DAP in a better position to wage the southern tsunami this time.

With DAP and Muhyiddin focusing on the battles in Johor, Mahathir and his son Mukhriz taking care of Kedah, and former Umno VP Shafie Apdal taking on Sabah, BN will have a hard time fighting the challengers.

There have been occasions of miscalculation, though, for the 77-year-old DAP supremo, as exemplified by the Tanjung 3 campaign in 1995 where he suffered a humiliating defeat to Koh Tsu Koon in Tanjung Bungah.

The voters' attitudes are highly unpredictable. When they feel they should show some sympathy for the underdog, they will think of teaching the challengers a lesson. And when everyone is unhappy with the status quo, they will vote against it!

MCA today is pinning its hopes on the sympathy votes, and whether DAP's ubah strategy will work depends very much on which way the voters' emotions swing to.

DAP also needs to take into account the substantial Malay votes in capturing MCA's four parliamentary seats in Johor. Even if everything is in place, lest we forget Umno is there mapping out the counter strategy.

Given his health conditions, 2018 will likely see LKS going down to the battlefield for the last time. Sure enough he wants a perfect conclusion to sum up his decades-old political struggle in this country.

 

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