For 56 years, Johor was the bastion and invincible “fixed deposit state” of UMNO/BN, to the extent that in the 2008 General Election campaign, the UMNO/BN leaders were so cocky as to put up the campaign theme of ensuring that Johor will be a “zero-Opposition” state.
The 13th General Election of May 5, 2013 had completely rewritten the electoral arithmetics in Johor with the then Pakatan Rakyat of DAP, PAS and PKR winning 18 State Assembly seats, one seat short of denying UMNO/Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority in the Johor State Assembly.
From a political backwaters’ state, Johor transformed overnight as the barometer of Malaysia’s political future and the new engine of political change in Malaysia.
Penang and Selangor spearheaded political change in the 12th GE in the 2008.
Johor must now take over this leadership responsibility as the engine of political change particularly for Pahang, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Terengganu, Kedah, and Perak.
Today, in Peninsular Malaysia, Johore holds the key in unlocking the gates to Putrajaya.
With the emergence of Parti Amanah Nasional on Sept. 16, the Battle of Johor for the Battle of Putrajaya in the 14th General Election will be back on course.
The top priority after the announcement of AMANAH on Sept. 16 should be the drawing up and implementation of a blueprint to capture Johor in the 14th GE by the new Opposition coalition comprising DAP, PKR and PAN.
I propose that the top Johor leaderships of DAP, PKR and PAN should meet immediately after Sept. 16 to draw up and implement such a blueprint, for precious time had been lost in the past two years to follow up on the great gains achieved in the 13th General Election to bring about political change in Johor and Malaysia.
If we are to win the Battle of Johor as an important strategy to win the Battle of Putrajaya, there must be full commitment by the leadeers of DAP, PKR and PAN at all levels, whether national, state or local to spread our message of national unity, good governance, the rule of law, end of corruption and abuses of power, socio-economic justices for all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or class as well as respect for democratic freedoms and human rights.
(Speech at the “Majlis Minum Petang bersama Pemimpin” at Kampung Ladang, Gelang Patah on Saturday, 5th September 2015 at 7 pm)