Gelang Patah battle full of variables

By LIM MUN FAH | 2013-04-18 14:38
Translated by KHEI YOK MAN

MCA’s loan of Gelang Patah parliamentary constituency to Umno is an anomalous move as well as a gamble.

Terming it an anomaly because DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang will meet Abdul Ghani Othman which was never thought of.

Gelang Patah was under MCA for the past four terms and it was hailed as MCA’s stronghold with majority votes once in excess of 30,000, a record created by Tan Ah Eng in 2004. The dissenting gale in 2008 didn’t swallow her although the majority votes fell to 8,851.

No one anticipated that MCA would swallow its pride by loaning the constituency simply to topple Kit Siang. Neither would anyone foresee BN’s strategic move to put the menteri besar on the table for an embattled sparring.

Neither Kit Siang nor Abdul Ghani Othman reckoned this.

How would this “Fray of Kings” end up? Both sides claim confidence, but in reality they are unsure. It is a risk-taking move to both PR and BN.

There are 106,864 eligible voters in Gelang Patah: 56,004 (52.41 percent) Chinese; 36,620 (34.27 percent) Malays; 13,347 (12.49 Percent) Indians and 893 (0.84 percent) others. BN’s last-minute change of candidate has its great deliberations. It obviously plans to employ Abdul Ghani Othman to stabilise Malay and Indian votes in the region and his ‘menteri besar for everyone’ image to solicit the Chinese votes.

This move of BN is not at all naïve and whimsical. In reality, if the self claimed ‘not a seat less’ BN could contain Kit Siang’s support below 70 percent and Indian and Malay votes below 50 percent and 20 percent respectively, Abdul Ghani would possibly defeat Kit Siang to defend Gelang Patah.

The question is: Is there any discrepancy between BN’s one-sided wish and the voters’ decision?

Abdul Ghani Othman authentically has a mild image and interacts well with local Chinese communities who endeared himself to ethnic Chinese in Gelang Patah. But respect is one thing while political sympathy is another. The key is whether the voters would translate respect into votes.

The past few elections show statistically that MCA is favoured in Gelang Patah. Loaning its constituency to Umno is a fatal blow to MCA’s grassroots. Great umbrage, repugnance and repercussion have actually ensued. This sentiment—the chorus of rallies staged by Jason Teoh’s staunch supporters for his reinstatement—if not properly managed, might backfire BN’s well planned move. At the end of the day, PR could paradoxically enjoy the advantage.

There is yet another development which I personally fear of: with the escalation of on-going election rallies, for the sake of stabilising basic Chinese and Malay votes, both the DAP and BN might resort to racial sentiments. Then worsened polarisation will be the eventuality.

The Gelang Patah battle is full of variables. Ripples effect can be ignited at any one moment. Hopefully, both sides would adhere to the code of conduct strictly.

  1. #1 by Winston on Sunday, 21 April 2013 - 1:00 pm

    Let’s get one thing straight.
    Very, very straight!
    Why would anyone want to give even a single vote to the corrupt, scam and scandal ridden Federal Government, no matter who their candidates are?
    Would anyone in his/her right mind want to be enslaved and scammed in order to benefit the corrupted and their cronies?
    The very fact that devils have tried every ploy to prevent the DAP from partaking in the GE is proof that the Devils’ Party is in mortal danger of losing GE13!!!!
    And yes, there are still those who still want to vote for the Devils’ Party but they are in the following categories:

    These people are:
    1. insane
    2. brain dead
    3. cronies
    4. masochistic
    5. mercenaries
    6. hare brained

    In fact, the vast majority of right thinking citizens will welcome a PR government that will be people centric rather than self and crony centric.

  2. #2 by chengho on Sunday, 21 April 2013 - 1:17 pm

    many young people within Dap so over joy when Ghani will defeat Kit. the future for growth within Dap when Kit no longer de facto leader

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Sunday, 21 April 2013 - 1:20 pm

    Y in Jelapang, both DAP n PSM killing each?

  4. #4 by omeqiu on Sunday, 21 April 2013 - 3:42 pm

    Strategic error by DAP to announce LKS before BN named its candidate. Where are all the brilliant people in DAP? Don’t they even know “知己知彼”?

    • #5 by kg on Sunday, 21 April 2013 - 6:30 pm

      My reading is, Johor is a very difficult state for PR, and the aim for GE13 is Putra Jaya. Something extraordinary should be employed to reach the goal. Kit has created astonishing effects in publicity, attraction, psychology impact, etc. in Johor and and other states to date. Things will be different, most probably much cooler then now, if DAP is to announced Kit yesterday; and Ipoh Timur voters may still be in shock now.

  5. #6 by ahkmlog on Sunday, 21 April 2013 - 5:47 pm

    Out of all these, the real winner will be MCA’s Jason Teoh.

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