20-Day Countdown to 13GE Polling Day – Gelang Patah will be my “life-and-death” political battle

Finally the die is cast. From all accounts, MCA has surrendered the Gelang Patah parliamentary seat to UMNO and the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate will be the popular four-term Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.

When I decided to leave the Ipoh Timor parliamentary seat where I had won with over 21,000-vote majority in the 2008 General Elections to contest in the BN fortress of Gelang Patah (which was won by BN with a 9,000-vote majority in 2008 and 31,666-vote majority in 2004) and which had never been won by the Opposition in the past 12 General Elections in 56 years, it was a high-risk decision.

But I was prepared to take the calculated risks for at least four reasons:

  1. To target the six Parliamentary and 13 State Assembly seats in south Johore to pave the way for Pakatan Rakyat to Putrajaya in the 13GE. The six Parliamentary seats are Johor Bahru, Pasir Gudang, Tebrau,. Gelang Patah, Kulai and Pulai. The 13 State Assembly seats are Stulang, Tanjong Puteri, Johore Jaya, Permas, Puteri Wangsa, Tiram, Skudai, Nusajaya, Pengkalan Rinting, Kempas, Senai, Bukit Batu and Bukit Permai.

    Johor Baru is the only State capital which had been able to maintain UMNO/BN political hegemony since Merdeka in 1957, when other State Capitals and urban centres have come under strong Opposition/Pakatan Rakyat influence, namely Kuala Lumpur, Kajang, Ipoh, Klang, Subang Jaya, Kuching, Petaling Jaya, Seremban, George Town, Malacca, Kota Baru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuantan and Sungai Patani.

  2. To target a total of 19 Parliamentary and 30 State Assembly seats in the State of Johor, including the six Parliamentary and 13 State Assembly seats in South Johore. The additional Parliamentary seats in the rest of Johor are Tanjong Piai, Kluang, Batu Pahat, Bakri, Labis, Segamat, Sekijang, Ledang, Muar, Ayer Hitam, Sri Gading, Simpang Rengam and Sembrong. The additional 17 State Assembly seats are Pekan Nenas, Mengkibol, Penggaram, Layang-Layang, Parit Yaani, Maharani, Gambir, Tenang and Pemanis.

    This is to ensure that the 13GE will complete the partial “political tsunami” in the 2008 General Elections, which saw the fall of BN in five states and the deprivation of BN’s two-thirds parliamentary majority – propelling the Pakatan Rakyat to win power to form the new Federal Government in Putrajaya after the 13GE.

    I am not claiming that Pakatan Rakyat can score a bullseye and win all the 19 Parliamentary and 30 State Assembly seats in Johore mentioned. In fact, if Pakatan Rakyat can achieve 50 per cent of this target, it is already a “phenomenal political revolution” in Johor, bearing in mind the arrogant boasts of Barisan Nasional leaders just five years ago before the 2008 general elections that they would ensure that Johore would become a “zero Opposition” state!

    I am of course expecting hitting a more than 50% success for the PR target of 19 Parliamentary and 30 State Assembly seats in Johore in the 13GE.

    In fact, it would be easier to achieve the objective of winning more than one-third of the Parliamentary seats in Johore and help propel Pakatan Rakyat to Putrajaya to form the new Federal Government than to win a simple majority in the State Assembly seats to form the next Johore State Government in the 13GE.

  3. To end and transform the three BN “fixed deposit” states of Johor, Sabah and Sarawak as the new “fixed deposit” states of Pakatan Rakyat, as these three states hold the keys to Putrajaya in the 13GE.

    In the 2008 General Elections, PR won 82 parliamentary seats while BN won 140 seats. If in the 13GE, PR can win at least 40% of the total of 83 parliamentary seats in these three states, i.e. 33 out of a total of 83 seats in Johore, Sabah and Sarawak, PR would have exceeded the magic number of 112 for a simple majority of the 222 parliamentary seats.

  4. To ensure that Pakatan Rakyat can win with a good and comfortable majority by winning at least 125 parliamentary seats (i.e. with a majority of 28), comprising say 45 seats for PKR, 40 seats for DAP and PAS by targeting a total of 25 parliamentary seats in the rest of the states which BN had won with less than 55% of the popular vote, seats like Arau in Perlis, Alor Setar in Kedah, Kuala Nerus in Terengganu; Larut, Kuala Kangsar, Kampar and Lumut In Perak; Bentong, Raub and Jerantut in Pahang, Sabak Bernam and Pandan in Selangor; Rembau in Negri Sembilan and Bukit Katil in Malacca.

These seats are already marginal seats to begin with. Many of these seats have experienced a sizable increase in the number of new voters, many of whom are younger voters who are more attracted to Pakatan’s hope for the future than to be threatened by BN’s scaremongering references to the past.

I had expected to meet a MCA “big gun” in Gelang Patah ( and who could compare with MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek as a MCA “big gun” with his unforgettable boast of “I consider myself a winnable candidate anywhere I go” during the MCA 58th annual general assembly in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 1, 2011”) and had not expected to meet any UMNO “big gun” at all.

This is because Gelang Patah had been a historic MCA fortress, with a voter racial make-up of 53 per cent Chinese, 34 per cent Malay and 12 per cent Indian voters.

If MCA has to surrender to UMNO an electoral constituency where there is a majority 53% Chinese voters, then MCA will have to surrender to UMNO another 25 parliamentary seats and 33 State Assembly seats with a Chinese voter percentage of less than 52%!

These 25 parliamentary and 33 State Assembly seats which MCA will have to surrender to UMNO are:

MCA Seats Less than 52% Chinese voters

25 parliament seats 52% Chinese or less (other than Gelang Patah)

KEDAH P9 ALOR STAR 61.2% 33.6% 4.6% 0.5%
KEDAH P17 PADANG SERAI 55.5% 21.4% 22.5% 0.5%
PULAU PINANG P52 BAYAN BARU 39.1% 49.0% 10.9% 1.0%
PERAK P71 GOPENG 42.8% 46.0% 8.8% 2.4%
PERAK P74 LUMUT 51.1% 35.4% 12.0% 1.5%
PERAK P77 TANJONG MALIM 53.3% 27.2% 13.9% 5.5%
PAHANG P80 RAUB 49.7% 40.3% 6.4% 3.5%
PAHANG P83 KUANTAN 62.4% 33.1% 3.8% 0.7%
PAHANG P89 BENTONG 44.4% 43.9% 9.0% 2.6%
SELANGOR P97 SELAYANG 45.1% 36.1% 17.2% 1.5%
SELANGOR P100 PANDAN 44.2% 48.1% 6.5% 1.2%
SELANGOR P102 SERDANG 39.4% 48.6% 11.0% 1.0%
SELANGOR P104 KELANA JAYA 37.8% 41.7% 18.5% 2.1%
SELANGOR P105 PETALING JAYA SELATAN 40.1% 41.5% 16.7% 1.7%
SELANGOR P110 KLANG 32.2% 45.8% 19.8% 2.2%
W.P KUALA LUMPUR P116 WANGSA MAJU 53.2% 36.2% 8.5% 2.2%
W.P KUALA LUMPUR P124 BANDAR TUN RAZAK 52.4% 37.4% 8.5% 1.6%
NEGERI SEMBILAN P128 SEREMBAN 43.6% 41.1% 13.5% 1.8%
NEGERI SEMBILAN P130 RASAH 27.8% 48.3% 22.1% 1.8%
MELAKA P135 ALOR GAJAH 58.4% 27.8% 12.8% 1.0%
JOHOR P142 LABIS 36.3% 46.5% 15.0% 2.2%
JOHOR P148 AYER HITAM 55.8% 38.0% 3.9% 2.3%
JOHOR P152 KLUANG 39.1% 49.3% 9.7% 1.8%
JOHOR P158 TEBRAU 46.6% 38.2% 13.2% 2.0%
JOHOR P165 TANJONG PIAI 50.4% 46.5% 1.1% 2.0%

33 state seats 52% Chinese or less

PERLIS N1 TITI TINGGI 76.1% 20.8% 2.4% 0.7%
PERLIS N8 INDERA KAYANGAN 47.7% 46.8% 4.1% 1.4%
KEDAH N22 GURUN 55.9% 26.5% 17.1% 0.6%
KEDAH N28 BAKAR ARANG 42.9% 41.5% 15.0% 0.6%
KEDAH N35 KULIM 60.0% 22.4% 17.2% 0.4%
KELANTAN N9 KOTA LAMA 63.7% 34.0% 1.5% 0.8%
TERENGGANU N14 BANDAR 62.4% 36.2% 1.1% 0.2%
PERAK N30 BUNTONG 5.8% 44.0% 47.9% 2.3%
PERAK N45 TEJA 31.6% 50.1% 10.4% 8.0%
PERAK N46 CHENDERIANG 36.0% 30.6% 12.5% 20.8%
PAHANG N4 CHEKA 69.9% 24.1% 4.8% 1.2%
PAHANG N10 DAMAK 56.5% 34.3% 5.8% 3.4%
PAHANG N13 SEMAMBU 56.6% 33.2% 9.5% 0.7%
PAHANG N30 MENTAKAB 51.9% 40.1% 5.8% 2.2%
SELANGOR N6 KUALA KUBU BAHARU 32.7% 42.7% 20.8% 3.8%
SELANGOR N14 RAWANG 23.0% 50.1% 25.3% 1.6%
SELANGOR N25 KAJANG 48.3% 40.5% 10.0% 1.2%
SELANGOR N52 TELUK DATUK 29.0% 44.8% 20.2% 6.0%
SELANGOR N56 SUNGAI PELEK 45.4% 32.8% 20.6% 1.2%
NEGERI SEMBILAN N1 CHENNAH 42.6% 50.8% 2.2% 4.4%
NEGERI SEMBILAN N10 NILAI 30.6% 45.5% 22.1% 1.9%
NEGERI SEMBILAN N22 RAHANG 30.7% 45.8% 21.0% 2.5%
NEGERI SEMBILAN N36 REPAH 36.7% 43.0% 19.4% 0.9%
MELAKA N8 MACHAP 40.8% 43.0% 14.3% 1.8%
MELAKA N14 KELEBANG 60.2% 36.6% 2.3% 0.8%
马六甲 N21 DUYONG 50.3% 44.3% 4.8% 0.6%
MELAKA N24 BEMBAN 58.9% 24.5% 16.1% 0.5%
JOHOR N10 TANGKAK 37.7% 51.2% 9.7% 1.5%
JOHOR N21 PARIT YAANI 54.0% 43.1% 1.1% 1.9%
JOHOR N30 PALOH 37.3% 43.6% 17.1% 2.0%
JOHOR N42 JOHOR JAYA 42.8% 47.1% 7.5% 2.7%
JOHOR N46 PENGKALAN RINTING 42.5% 44.7% 10.6% 2.1%
JOHOR N54 PULAU SEBATANG 61.8% 34.5% 1.4% 2.2%

Will MCA surrender to UMNO these 25 parliamentary and 33 State Assembly seats? Malaysians are entitled to an explanation from the MCA leadership.

Gelang Patah will be my “life-and-death” political battle as I will be fighting not just popular four-term Johore Mentri Besar, but the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, former longest-serving PM Tun Dr. Mahathir and future PM hopeful Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

This is probably the first time in Malaysian electoral history where an Opposition candidate will have to face four such UMNO heavy-weights all in one go.

Whether I survive or perish, whether Gelang Patah will end up as my political “kubur” as exhorted by Mahathir to the people of Johore, I do not know, but I shall not withdraw from the Battle of Gelang Patah, for it has become the Battle of Johore and even the Battle of Malaysia.

I will develop these themes during the election campaign of the 13GE, in Gelang Patah, Johore or all over Malaysia.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur