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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Kit Siang eyes Johor state seat, too?


After receiving encouraging response from Johoreans, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang is said to have set his eyes on state constituency Johor Jaya to further boost Pakatan Rakyat's attempt to break BN's iron grip on the southern state.

NONESources from Lim's campaign team in Gelang Patah, the parliamentary constituency where Lim will contest in the coming general election, toldMalaysiakini that Lim had instructed the team to also set up its campaign machinery in Johor Jaya - a state seat in the neighbouring parliament constituency of Pasir Gudang.

"So far our team is only campaigning in Gelang Patah, touching base with local leaders and meeting voters from various locations in this huge parliamentary constituency.

"But last night, Lim suddenly asked us to do the same in Johor Jaya," a party leader told Malaysiakini yesterday on condition of anonymity. He was referring to a campaign team meeting on Thursday night.

Lim's team comprises several key party activists from Kuala Lumpur who were part of the 2008 general election and 2010 Sibu by-election campaigns.

NONESources said Lim has received overwhelming response from voters during his electoral campaign over the past two weeks, prompting him to consider extending his reach in southern Johor.

"If Lim decides to contest Johor Jaya, it would create a strong momentum for Pakatan to capture not only 15 parliamentary seats in Johor but also the state government as well.

"We have identified 25 key state seats. They will be announced soon," the DAP leader added.

The campaign committee will call for more meetings to discuss this latest development and a clearer picture will emerge after the weekend.

However, Johor DAP chief Dr Boo Cheng Hau told Malaysiakini it was unlikely that Lim would contest in Johor Jaya.

"DAP has a policy of ‘one person, one seat'. I believe Lim will support this policy. Since 2008, DAP has attracted many talents, we have enough candidates," he said when contacted yesterday.

Seat won by MCA with 10,000 majority

Johor Jaya is one of two state seats under the parliamentary constituency of Pasir Gudang, currently held by Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin, who is tipped to be a potential candidate for the next Johor menteri besar. The other state seat is Permas.

Being part of the greater Johor Baru area, Pasir Gudang is part of the 15 Johor parliamentary seats that Pakatan is targeting. The seat has seen a sharp increase of over 30 percent new voters, among highest in the country since the 2008 general election.

Johor Jaya, a non-Malay-majority state constituency with slightly less than 50 percent of Chinese voters and seven percent Indians, has elected MCA's Tan Cher Puk as their representative in the last two general elections.

The wind of change has been evident when Tan won with a reduced majority of 10,488 in 2008 compared to 15,395 four years earlier, although he faced a relatively weak candidate from Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM), a small party led by leftist activists who refused to join their comrades in merging with Keadilan to form PKR in 2001.

azlanDAP has been building its base in Johor Jaya over the past few years. It has even identified DAP Socialist Youth committee member Liow Cai Tung, 27, as its potential candidate.

A sales representative turned full-time political worker, Liow has been working the ground of this state constituency.

Liow, who is Johor DAP Youth deputy publicity chief and daughter of Johor DAP Wanita deputy chief Ng Siam Luang, issued a statement yesterday inviting Lim to contest in Johor Jaya.

"This is a chance for change. At this crucial moment, Johoreans need Lim's leadership. Hence I sincerely call on Lim to contest in Johor Jaya and lead Pakatan to capture the state government," she said.

However, if Lim is to contest in Johor Jaya, it would further strain the party's relationship with Johor PKR as the latter is also eyeing the state seat.

In 2004, both PKR and DAP engaged in a three-cornered fight in Johor Jaya, before the seat was given to PRM in 2008, resulting in a straight fight with MCA.

It is learnt that PKR has yet to give up its claim on the seat.

Johor PKR state chief Chua Jui Meng was said to be upset over the party's decision to give Gelang Patah to Lim, and has been missing from public events since Lim's candidature in Gelang Patah was announced on March 18.

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