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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Johor in dissenting gales



(My SinChew) - The opposition's landslide win in the by-election at Punggol East of Singapore might signify little to the central, northern and eastern Malaysians but was definitely an inspirational impact to the neighbouring Johoreans.
"Will this gale-force dissenting wind in Singapore a paragon for Johor state?" is the question posed by my politically aware acquaintances these days.
No definite answer is available though. Accurate prediction is wanting since the date for the general elections is not finalised and ballots are not cast.
My rejoinder could go as such: There definitely will be impact but I am not sure how strong it will be. One thing I am very sure of is that the some hundred thousand Malaysian workers in Singapore could play a crucial role in the next election.
Supposing the election is to be held after Chap Goh Meh as raised, then those working in Singapore will have to abandon their voting rights since they have to oblige office. But this is only a matter for conjecture notwithstanding reasonable basis.
Yet another undeniable reality is that the voters nowadays are in general politically aware. Under this dissenting umbrella, one thing I am sure of is that those who work abroad or in Singapore might take leave to exercise their civil right back home.
It could be a bit too far to travel back to east Malaysia but going back to west Malaysia for voting will not be that woeful in this transportation advanced age.
I believe those who work in Singapore are predominantly Johoreans. To these Johoreans, faring home to cast their ballots is not a trouble. The question is whether you are politically aware, taking this as an obligation.
The tricky question currently is, given that the mentioned permanent residents and workers of Singapore are politically aware, which party will they fancy, BN or Pakatan Rakyat?
Pakatan Rakyat has since taken these expatriates as their immediate supporters. The truth seems to be so nonetheless the MCA would argue as the result is still fluid. What's more, polling is strictly confidential.
The past election result in Skudai constituency probably can serve as a reference: in the 1999 general elections, Gerakan Rakyat's Khoo Kong Ek defeated DAP's Boo Cheng Hau with a majority of 11,245 votes. But in 2008, Boo was given the mandate contesting against Gerakan's Teo Kok Chee.
In these eight straight years, Skudai turned from BN's strong bastion to an indifferent neighbourhood. The reason, to a great extent, has something to do with Boo Cheng Hau's personal charisma and endeavour. Another inextricable element is, there are many expatriates working in Singapore and they exerted their crucial role in the 2008 elections in response to DAP's calling.
MCA president Chua Soi Lek stated last year that there wasn't any secured region in Johor for their party. The remark could be goading but under the 2008 dissenting wind blowing southward along with the forceful northward gale from neighbouring Singapore, MCA is set to confront a life-and-death fray, formidably.

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