JOHOR BAHARU, April 15 – For DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang to win the Gelang Patah (broken bracelet) parliamentary seat in Barisan Nasional’s (BN)fortress in Johor, he not only needs to win the “hearts and minds” of the Chinese electorate, who are the majority voters in the suburban seat, he must also work hard to woo votes from the Malay electorate.
A substantial 54 per cent of the eligible voters in Gelang Patah are Chinese while the Malays account for 33 per cent and Indians make up 12 per cent. Judging from the electoral composition, it is clear that to win the rapidly-developing Gelang Patah seat, the candidate, either from Barisan Nasional (BN) or DAP must romp home the support of the Chinese and Malays, the bulk of the electorate in the constituency, adjacent to Pulai and Johor Baharu parliamentary seats.
But with the irremovable stigma that Kit Siang and DAP are “anti-Malays” and “anti-Islam, it is a big question mark whether the Malay voters in the constituency will accept or welcome the veteran DAP politician.
No doubt Kit Siang and the DAP election machinery in the area are already facing an uphill task. In fact, some party campaigners were heard lamenting that it was indeed an arduous mission to win over the Malay voters in the once Malay-heartland area.
The difficult task to woo Malay voters was readily acknowledged by DAP electon workers with the “anti-Malay” and “anti-Islam” stigma deeply etched with Kit Siang and DAP, a predominantly Chinese-based urban party.
“Surely, the stigma will be a big hurdle for my party campaigners when talking to Malay voters in the area.
“The stigma is purportedly created and highlighted that the DAP and I are “anti-Malay” and “anti-Islam,” laments Kit Siang.
The DAP adviser says the “anti-Malay” and Anti-Islam” stigma was a mere slander and a big lie, saying the DAP’s and his political struggle was for all Malaysians regardless of race and religion. Although the acceptance of Kit Siang by the Malay voters was difficult to gauge since the March 18 announcement that he was the Pakatan Rakyat’s candidate for Gelang Patah, Kit Siang and DAP firmly believe that they will be well-accepted by the electorate to break Barisan’s stronghold in Johor. Johor has been Barisan’s bastion for many years.
“I don’t know about the Malays’ acceptance of me but I want to win in Gelang Patah with the support of all races,” said Kit Siang, who has moved from Ipoh Timur in Perak to try his luck in Gelang Patah.