The Malay Mail Online
July 10, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — The opposition should forgo 30 Barisan Nasional (BN) strongholds in its bid for Putrajaya and focus resources on 38 marginal seats to make Umno fall like dominoes, a DAP strategist said today.
Liew Chin Tong, the DAP election planner whose brazen plan to contest against Umno in its stronghold state Johor in Election 2013 saw Pakatan Rakyat taking five out of 26 seats, said the opposition should not stretch itself by trying to take seats where the odds of victory are low.
“Let’s be clear, elections are won or lost in marginal seats. For the new Opposition coalition to form the next government which is stable and with a strong legitimacy, defeating Umno in the Peninsula has to be the priority.
“But to cause Umno to fall like dominoes, we should not set our sights on its strongholds but work on where it is weakest: the marginal seats,” the DAP national political education director said in his analysis titled “The Peninsula Dominoes”.
For the 14th general election due no later than 2018, all the opposition has to do to win the peninsular Malaysia battle is to concede 30 small rural seats “tailor-made” for a safe win by Umno and focus on getting 6 per cent of vote swing away from BN in 38 marginal seats.
“Of these 73 Peninsula seats, Umno would win at least 30 rural seats, which were “tailored-made” for Umno in the first place anyway, with the ‘built-in’ Felda votes, postal votes and government machineries assisting Umno in campaign. The Opposition should forget about these 30 seats.
“But the rest of the seats, which are mostly multi-ethnic, are ready to fall on the back of antipathy against Umno since 2008 among non-Malay voters and a Malay tsunami against the economic hardships imposed by the Umno Government,” the DAP Johor chief said when dissecting the possibilities of the federal opposition taking over the 73 seats won by BN in Election 2013.
According to Liew, the 38 marginal seats are largely semi-urban and located on the west coast of the peninsula with a small Malay voter majority.
Despite Liew’s conclusion for the opposition to ignore the 30 safe seats for BN, it is uncertain how strong the ruling coalition’s hold on these seats remains amid widespread unhappiness over government policies.
In a by-election this May, Umno retained its traditional stronghold Rompin — a rural constituency with a sizeable population of Felda settlers —- but with voter support that Liew said went down by 6 per cent.
Economic gloom also overshadows the ruling government, with an unresolved controversy over state-owned firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a weak ringgit that fell to a 16-year-low earlier this week and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which has caused living costs to rise amid largely stagnant wages.
The federal opposition is itself undergoing political uncertainty as PAS mulls a final decision to cut off ties with DAP, while the imprisoned PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim previously leading the Pakatan Rakyat pact has spoken about a new opposition line-up.
In Election 2013, BN kept Putrajaya with a haul of 133 out of 222 federal seats, while PR won 89 seats. A win of 112 seats is needed for a simple majority and to form government.