Johor will head the list of states Pakatan Harapan aims to win and form State Government in the 14GE on the way to Putrajaya

The launching of Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) in Gelang Patah parliamentary constituency a week after AMANAH’s official launch in Johor is a sign of AMANAH’s thrust and momentum in preparation for the next general elections which must be held in less than 30 months.

In the 14th General Election, Johor will the front-line state and Johor will head the list of states Pakatan Harapan aims to win and form the State Government on the way to Federal power in Putrajaya.

Until the 2008 General Election, Johor was the impregnable and invincible state of Umno/BN, so much so that UMNO/BN leaders boasted about making Johore a zero-Opposition state in the 12th GE in 2008.

However, the political landscape in Johor underwent a drastic and fundamental change in the 12th and 13th General Elections, and Johor politics will never be the same again as compared to the first five decades after Merdeka in 1957.

In the 13th GE in 2013, Pakatan Rakat comprising DAP, PKR and PAS achieved the “Great Leap” forward in Johor with PR representation in the Johor State Assembly tripled from six to 18 seats, one seat short of denying the BN its two-thirds majority in the Johor State Assembly.

If there was a fair and democratic “one man, one vote” delineation of constituencies, PR should have won another eight seats, i.e.26 out of a total of 56 State Assembly seat in Johore as PR secured 46% per cent of the total votes cast for the Johore State Assembly seats.

The Opposition parties are not asking for another trebling of State Assembly seats in the 14th GE, but only to double our seats from 18 to 36 seats, which will see the formation of a Pakatan Harapan state government in Johor.

However, if the previous opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat had been maintained, such a possibility of a quantum leap in Johor in the 14GE as to catapult the Opposition to the seats of power in Johor would have been impossible.

In fact, a Pakatan Rakyat coalition in the 14 GE would be hard put to defend the present 18 State Assembly seats, as the voters of Johor may be prepared to vote again for UMNO/BN state government on the adage “the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t”.

This was because Pakatan Rakyat had been a great disappointment after the 13th General Election to the people of Malaysia, in particular the voters of Johor who had transformed the political terrain of Johore by their unprecedented support for the Opposition in Johore, because PR had been broken by PAS breaking the Pakatan Rakyat consensus principle and PAS refusal to abide by the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework.

Between a corrupt, inefficient and self-serving Barisan Nasional government, and a coalition of convenience without common policy consensus and objectives, the voters of Johore as elsewhere in the country would probably prefer “the devil that you know than the angel that you don’t”!

The formation of Parti Amanah Negara and the establishment of Pakatan Harapan at this crucial juncture of the political development of the nation is most critical as they fill the political void and vacuum created by the disintegration of Pakatan Rakyat.

Out of the ashes of Pakatan Rakyat, there is now a new hope in the politicial horizon of Malaysia with the formation of Pakatan Harapan comprising DAP, PKR and AMANAH

A new political wave represented by AMANAH and Pakatan Harapan also provides a sharp contrast to the turmoils and turbulence in discredited political parties like the report today of some 20 UMNO branches in Sepang calling on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to resign.

The group’s spokesperson, Rushdan Mohamed, said Najib should resign as both prime minister and as Umno president because the prolonged scandals afflicting him have made him a liability.

He said that there is widespread dissatisfaction, even among the three million ordinary UMNO members, with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the 1MDB scandal and the RM2.6 billion donation” directly traced to Najib’s personal banking account.

He estimated that only about 60 percent of the Umno members currently support Najib.

Many Umno branches nationwide have, at their branch annual general meetings, called for party elections to be held as scheduled next year, including about two-thirds of the branches in the Umno Sepang division.

UMNO party elections have however been postponed by 18 months to mid-2018.

Najib is facing a crisis of confidence not only among the 30 million Malaysians, but even among the three million UMNO members, although he has at present the loyal support of the 300 UMNO chieftains who fill the UMNO Supreme Council and UMNO divisional leaderships.

This is in fact a battle between the three million UMNO members vs the 300 UMNO chieftains, with the former no voice or rights as compared to the latter, and the challenge is not only to reach out to ordinary 30 million Malaysians but also the three million UMNO members to unite on a common national platform to save the country from corrupt and repressive policies to safeguard the interests of a few at the expense of the majority of Malaysians, including the majority of UMNO members.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah