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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Defeat looms but DAP plays another card

Pakatan Rakyat can say goodbye to Tenang but for the DAP, it is all personal.

LABIS: The warring parties in Tenang launched a final assault last night, with leaders scurrying from one ceramah to another to rally the voters to their cause.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) concentrated its fire on the Felda settlements, keeping a tight hold on the Malay voters and ensuring they stay comfortable, warm and happy.

But the Chinese community in Labis has slipped out of the BN grip and is more at home with DAP than MCA.

Last night saw, a DAP ceramah featured Pakatan Rakyat heavyweights Anwar Ibrahim, Abdul Hadi Awang, Lim Guan Eng and several other leaders.

The DAP’s final onslaught is not to win the seat but to reduce the BN’s majority. The party and its partners – PKR and PAS – know that Tenang is a lost cause.

But even then it looks like Pakatan may not even achieve its goal of chipping away at BN’s lead. In the face of unremitting attacks from BN, especially Umno, the loose alliance is staring at a comprehensive defeat.

PAS candidate Normala Sudirman is simply not “saleable” as a politician despite her popularity as a successful teacher in the town where she grew up.

Thus the Malay votes are already lost with only hardcore PAS members and supporters holding on to her.

PAS saw that the only way to stop the BN juggernaut is to garner as many Chinese votes as possible, which is why the DAP goes all-out to get the Chinese vote bank.

Home ground

But the DAP has another target in mind – MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek. All these days, Chua has come under heavy fire and it is all very personal. DAP is hell-bent on discrediting Chua so that he falls out of favour with the Chinese community.

If all the Chinese voters in Labis go the DAP way, then Chua will lose face not only in the BN circle but also in the whole Chinese community in the country.

Labis is Chua’s home ground and if the Chinese community embraces the DAP, it will not look good on him.

And if the DAP succeeds in locking up the Chinese vote bank, then the party can rest assure that the Chinese community in the country will ride with the rocket in the coming general election.

For the DAP, the Tenang by-election is a barometer of its support with the Chinese electorate in Johor. Come the general election, the party hopes to zero in on the urban areas in the state where Chinese comprise the majority.

With polling tomorrow, all the combatants are also making final house-to-house visits to tie up the loose ends.

Meanwhile, Labis town last night was jammed with vehicles from outside Johor as more campaigners are being brought in to help out in the door-to-door campaign.

The weather is still cloudy presaging more rain but that did not stop the rivals from pursuing the voters. - FMT

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