Regardless of whether the BN candidate is Ghani Othman or other UMNO heavyweight, the Battle of Gelang Patah is definitely on

Deputy Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman and Deputy UMNO President, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin predicted that I would be defeated in the BN fortress of Gelang Patah.

Muhyiddin said the BN is looking into the possibility of fielding Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Abdul Ghani Othman in Gelang Pata and that I am “trapped” as I had not anticipated an UMNO big-gun being deployed to contest in the constituency.

I admit that I had not anticipated an UMNO big-gun being deployed to contest in Gelang Patah, as who would have thought that MCA leadership could so openly admit that they don’t have a single MCA “big-gun” left for Gelang Patah or that MCA would have a President for the first time in MCA history who is prepared to give away parliamentary and state assembly seats to be contested by other BN other parties, like Gelang Patah, Kuantan, Wangsa Maju and Tronoh as if conducting a “fire sale” of MCA assets.

However, whether the BN candidate in Gelang Patah is Ghani or some other UMNO heavyweight does not change the basic objectives and thrust of the Battle of Gelang Patah, which has the dual objective of firstly, mobilising Malaysians in support of the Malaysian Dream as the one envisioned by the great Johor Malay leader and founding UMNO President, Datuk Onn Jafaar in 1951 and secondly, to kick off a political tsunami from the south in the 13GE to complete the partial 2008 political tsunami towards the establishment of a Pakatan Rakyat federal government.

The Battle of Gelang Patah, which is in fact the Battle of Johor and the Battle of Malaysia, is definitely set and on regardless of whom I have to face as BN candidate.

Come what may, even facing the possibility of defeat, I shall not withdraw from the Gelang Patah constituency.

I had already taken a high-risk decision in leaving the Ipoh Timor parliamentary constituency where I had won with over 21,000-vote majority in the 2008 general elections to contest in a BN “fortress” which was won by the BN candidate with close to 9,000-vote majority in 2008 and the humongous majority of 31,666 votes in 2004.

If Ghani, a four-term Johor Mentri Besar, contests in Gelang Patah, the pressure on me will increase by a thousand tons!

But I shall not withdraw, as the reasons for initiating the Battle of Gelang Patah remains as valid as ever whether Ghani is a candidate or not.

I have the greatest respect for Ghani but if I have to contest against him in Gelang Patah, I invite him to join me to make the Gelang Patah battle the model of a gentlemanly electoral battle throughout the country, where the candidates and their respective parties will conduct the most free, fair, clean and gentlemanly election campaign for the entire 13GE – which is most important pertinent and relevant with worrying signs that the 13GE is shaping up to be the dirtiest in the history of general elections since the first GE in 1959.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur