The Battle for GE14 in Peninsular Malaysia begins and ends in Johor

In November, 2013, I outlined a 12 point strategy on how Pakatan can capture Putrajaya in GE14.

In Peninsular Malaysia, Johore holds the key in unlocking the gates to Putrajaya. For Pakatan to win Putrajaya, this strategy must first and foremost work in Johore.

The Battle of Johore for the Battle of Putrajaya in the 14GE is the greatest challenge of the DAP State Convention to be held in Batu Pahat on Sunday.

In GE13, Pakatan has shattered the fixed deposit state of Johor by winning 5 parliament and 18 state seats, a worthy achievement given the resources that were spent by the BN in this state.

But this is not enough. To achieve the goal of winning Putrajaya in GE14, Pakatan must set a target of winning half of the parliament seats in Johore. To do this, we must firstly defend our marginal areas (Bakri and Batu Pahat) and our newly won areas (Kluang, Kulai and Gelang Patah). And then, we must go on the offensive to capture the marginal BN areas including Segamat, Sekijang, Labis, Ledang, Muar, Tebrau, Pasir Gudang and Pulai. If we have won all of the marginal BN areas, Pakatan would have won 13 out of 26 parliament seats in GE13.

Achieving this goal will be far from easy but will require the adoption of the following points in the 12 point strategy:

1. Full and immediate commitment by all three Pakatan Rakyat parties of DAP, PKR and PAS, whether at national, state or local level, to enhance public support in next four years for Pakatan Rakyat’s quest for federal power in Putrajaya in 14GE.

2. Ensure a fair delimitation exercise

8. Emphasize rural outreach

10. Enhance Pakatan cooperation at all levels

11. Emphasize inter-generational leadership

12. Counter the lies and propaganda of BN

Point No.2 is especially necessary in Johor given the unfairness of the current system. The smallest constituency in Johore, Labis, had only 37,714 voters in GE13 compared to 106,726 voters for Gelang Patah, meaning that Gelang Patah had almost 3 times the number of voters as Labis.

It is not enough for the Election Commission chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz, to promise not to have any seats with more than 100,000 voters in the next delimitation exercise.

The Election Commission can keep to this so-called promise by redrawing boundaries to reduce the number of voters in seats like Gelang Patah, Pulai, Pasir Gudang with over 100,000 voters to ‘merely’ 80,000 to 90,000 voters but still be unfair and undemocratic if, at the same time, it creates new seats with less than 40,000 voters each.

This was exactly what the Election Commission did in the 2003 delimitation exercise when it created Pengerang from the then Kota Tinggi seat resulting in two parliament seats with 32484 and 30420 voters respectively while leaving seats like Johor Bahru with over 90,000 voters.

To ensure a fair delimitation exercise, the Election Commission must not only add new seats in areas with a large number of voters, especially in the southern Johor area which is experiencing significant development and an increase in population, it must also give a commitment that existing disparities between rural and urban areas are minimized.

A fair guideline would be that the smallest parliament seat in Johor cannot have less than half the number of the largest parliament seat in Johor. Adopting this maximum 2:1 urban:rural ratio would go a long way in ensuring a fair delimitation exercise.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah