Lim should go to Johor, Anwar to Pahang: But will Najib go to Penang, Chua to Ipoh
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has signaled a green light and said that it is now the best time to hold the 13th general election, while Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has instructed all BN component party leaders to submit their lists of candidates for the election within two weeks. It seems that the election is really approaching and even if there is any changes, it would not be delayed until next year.
If Najib wants to have the election in May or June, he must immediately address the candidate problems to avoid the outburst of resistance and factional conflicts during the election, which could affect the final results.
It is quite a good choice to hold the election in May or June as the money distribution policies and legal reforms have brought a good feeling. However, it is believed that Najib will keep observing, particularly the Bersih and Himpunan Hijau 3.0 rally scheduled on April 28. If the rally's atmosphere is flaming, the election might then be delayed until September. The risk will be too high to hold the election next year since no one can tell whether the European debt crisis will change or not and Spain might follow the steps of Greece.
All kinds of rumours have been spreading and if DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang really contests in Johor as the rumours said, it will then be the battle most worthy of watching.
Kit Siang had contested in Penang and Perak. Although he did not win the Penang power, he had successfully ignited the passion of Penang voters, enabling his son Guan Eng to become the Chief Minister. However, the general election is not far from now and there is still no sign showing a high possibility of repetition for the ploy.
In fact, the next general election might be the "last chance" for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Kit Siang to take over Putrajaya.
Kit Siang is 71-year-old and if the Pakatan Rakyat fails to win the federal regime, would it be more challenging for him to wait for another five years? Similar to Anwar, the Attorney General's Office has appealed against the decision on Anwar's sodomy trial. If he is defeated in the election, he might be put behind bars.
Therefore, it is a strategic need to field important candidates in a BN's stronghold state to seek for a little breakthrough and promote the overall development. However, Johor is having a different sentiment compared to other states and the alternative coalition would have to take some risks to field Kit Siang there.
In fact, in addition to Johor, Pahang, Sarawak and Sabah are also in a great need of important leaders. Since Pahang is facing the rare-earth refinery plant issue, it would be a chance for the Pakatan Rakyat to win more parliamentary seats and state power.
Anwar should leave the safe constituency of Permatang Pauh and fight in Pahang. Pahang is Najib's hometown and if Anwar contests in same state, it would show the Pakatan Rakyat's determination to fight to the death.
However, Sabah and Sarawak seem to be beyond the reach of the Pakatan Rakyat. The DAP might be able to gain a few Chinese-majority constituencies in Sarawak but the PKR is having a loose grassroots organisation and it would not be easy to defeat the PBB. Meanwhile, PAS is not popular among the Bumiputera community.
Anwar has changed his attitude recently and is willing to give up some seats to the opposition parties in Sabah, particularly the SAPP, showing the helplessness of the Pakatan Rakyat in Sabah.
If the Pakatan Rakyat fails to seize the federal regime this time, its momentum would be weakened and its component parties might be defeated separately.
Therefore, the Pakatan Rakyat must put in more efforts in gaining rural votes. Manipulating issues, including offering free tertiary education, will not help to breach the BN's bastion. Instead, they need a greater political strategy. This is precisely the weakness of the Pakatan Rakyat.