When online Star carried a report this morning titled “Johor DAP polls: Dr. Boo versus the raiders from the North” with regard to Sunday’s DAP Johore State elections, my first thought was the 1981 Spielberg American fantasy-adventure film classic “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. But nobody is seeking the “Lost Ark” on Sunday which can make one invincible capable of levelling all armies. In fact, what is expected after Sunday is toil, more toil and even more toil until Pakatan Rakyat reahes Putrajaya in the 14th Genefal Elections.
From 1986 I was three terms MP for Tanjong from 1986 – 1999 and two terms MP for Ipoh Timor 2004-2013 but in those 22 years as MP for a “Northern” constituency, nobody described me as a “Raider from the South” although I am a Johorean born and bred in Batu Pahat.
But suddenly, I seemed to have become a “Raider from the North”!
In my 48 years of political work, I have always regarded myself as Malaysian first and last, prepared to fight the good fight for a Malaysian Dream whether in Malacca, Selangor, Penang, Perak or back in Johore.
All DAP leaders, cadres and members must be model Malaysians, first and last, whether from north, south, east or west in Malaysia – in search of the Malaysian Dream where every Malaysian regards himself or herself as Malaysian first and race, religion, region and socio-economic status second.
As there has to be a second-round contest for the post of Chairman of Johore DAP, although I had hoped that this could be avoided, let there be a healthy, constructive and fraternal contest of ideas, ideals and vision by all concerned, avoiding negative and destructive campaigning and most important of all, personal attacks or even worse, baseless personal attacks.
One test of healthy, constructive and fraternal campaigning is to be able to say publicly what is said privately.
Nobody can deny Dr. Boo Cheng Hau’s great contributions as DAP Johore State Chairman and transforming the State from a political backwater into a front-line state in the 13th General Elections and even more so in the 14th General Elections.
It is reported that there have been “more and more personal attacks” on Dr. Boo. I do not know whether this is true but if so, I want to condemn it in the most unmistakable terms.
I do not want to see any personal attacks on Dr. Boo or any DAP leader for this is not our political culture.
In the same way, I resent baseless accusations that there is a national vs state battle with the national leadership bullying or marginalising state leaders including Dr. Boo.
There is no basis to such allegations.
The whole slate of DAP parliamentary and state assembly candidates was finalised after a consensus was reached between the national and state leaderships. For instance, Dr. Boo was offered candidature for the Kulai parliamentary seat but he declined.
I can understand his reservations for if we look at electoral seats from post-13GE results, it would appear that every parliamentary and state seat contested by the DAP, including the two parliamentary and one state assembly seat that we lost narrowly, was a good seat.
But this is very different if we look at the electoral prospects before the 13GE, when there was no surety that the DAP could do well in Johore. In fact, I myself was uncertain if I could win in Gelang Patah let alone win the Kulai and Kluang parliamentary seats and the other State Assembly seats.
I contested in Gelang Patah because it was a platform for Johore to become the front-line state in the pursuit of the Malaysian Dream.
This is the greatest challenge and special agenda for DAP and Pakatan Rakyat in the next few years in the run-up to the 14th General Elections.