Pakatan Harapan’s twin objectives to make Johor a frontline state in 14GE – spearhead political change in 14GE and save Malaysia from a failed and broken state

Pakatan Harapan must make Johor a front-line state with two objectives – firstly, to spearhead political change in the country in the forthcoming 14th General Election and secondly, to save Malaysia from becoming a failed and broken state.

Until five years ago, Johor was quite impenetrable for Opposition parties as it was for close to half a century, the impregnable fort of the Barisan Nasional parties – whether UMNO, MCA or MIC.

But a sea change took place in Johor in the 13th General Election. Until then, the best election result for the Opposition in Johor was one Parliamentary and six State Assembly seats in Johor in the 2008 general election, but in the 2013 General Election, the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition made a quantum leap and won five Parliamentary and 18 State Assembly seats – a far cry from Barisan Nasional’s “zero Opposition” goal in the 2008 general election to just one seat short of BN losing two-thirds majority in the Johor State Assembly.

Can the Opposition, now Pakatan Harapan, improve on the Opposition’s score in Johor in the next general election, which should be held in the next 12 months?

Although there are pessimists who think that in the next general election, it is not possible to improve on Opposition showing in 2013, I remain optimistic that it is not only possible to improve on the electoral results in the last general election, both parliamentary and state assembly, the possibility of Pakatan Harapan replacing the Barisan Nasional as the Johor State Government cannot be ruled out.

If Johor succeeds as a front-line state in the next general election, matching Penang as a successful front-line state, and backed by the spine of support from Kedah, Perak, Selangor and Negri Sembilan in Peninsular Malaysia, the stage would be set for a national change of government in Putrajaya.

Pakatan Harapan has twin objectives to make Johor a frontline state in 14GE – – to spearhead political change in 14GE and save Malaysia from a failed and broken state.

Two recent incidents, the roughing up of DAP MP for Kluang, Liew Chin Tong, when visiting Pasar Ramadan in his Kluang constituency based on a lie on what happened ten year ago, and the demonisation on the social media of Selangor DAP leader and municipal councillor, Young Syefura Othman, or better known as Rara, for her visits to Ramadan bazaar in Cheras, are disturbing instances of growing intolerance, distrust and hatred in our plural nation of diverse races, religions, cultures and languages.

We have failed in our nation-building efforts in the past 60 years to inculcate among our people the values of tolerance, goodwill, solidarity and mutual respect which are essential if our plural society is to succeed as a world-class nation, and not becoem a failed and broken state.

This trend towards greater intolerance, distrust and hatred must be condemned and halted and all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, must stand united to promote peace, harmony, goodwill, mutual respect and solidarity in our plural society, with zero tolerance for extremism or fanaticism in any form.

This mindset should be above party politics, but if Barisan Nasional leaders are not prepared to be in the forefront to speak out against intolerance, hatred or extremism of any form (and it is regrettable that there are UMNO leaders who could defend or justify such extremist behaviour), Pakatan Harapan leaders must step forward to condemn such intolerance and extremism.

[Speech by DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang at the Majlis berbuka puasa Pakatan Harapan Bakri in Muar on Tuesday, 13th June 2017 at 6 pm]

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