Pakatan Rakyat is likely to make a big dent in BN's fortress in Johor based on the huge turnout at its ceramahs.
JOHOR BARU: As the last few hours tick away before Sunday polls, Pakatan Rakyat is poised to take at least eight parliamentary seats in Johor.
The DAP southern team led by party adviser Lim Kit Siang is expected to capture Gelang Patah, Kulai, Kluang, Labis, Tanjung Piai while retaining Bakri.
Johor PKR chief Chua Jui Meng and PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub also have a good chance of taking Segamat and Pulai respectively.
The forecast is based on the assumption that Pakatan candidates will bag 80% of the Chinese votes, 25% of the Malay votes and 50% of the Indian votes.
Pakatan is expected to easily obtain 80% of the Chinese votes judging from the overwhelming response it has received across Johor.
Throughout the campaigning period, Pakatan has been able to attract thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Chinese to their ceramahs.
However, the number of Malays attending the Pakatan ceramahs increased only slightly ranging from a few hundreds to a few thousands. Pakatan is expected to see a 25% swing to its side compared with the 14%-20% in the 2008 general election.
Meanwhile, the Indian votes are split almost evenly based on the response of the voters interviewed by FMT. Some of them acknowledged that the government has failed to resolve long-standing problems such as the “stateless” Indians, while others feel that the BN administration has done a pretty good job.
However, the opposition is unlikely to bag Johor Baru and Air Hitam parliamentary seats, held by BN’s Shahri Abdul Samad and Wee Ka Siong respectively.
This is because both of them have immense influence in their constituencies which they won with more than 10,000-vote majority in the 2008 polls.
Tide has changed
In Gelang Patah, Kit Siang, who has been leading the race against his heavyweight opponent Ghani Othman from the beginning,received a further boost when some 70,000 people thronged a Pakatan “grand” ceramah in his constituency on May 1.
Initially there was concern that Lim may lose if he only secures 70% of Chinese votes, but now it seems the tide has changed in his favour.
In Kulai and Kluang, two low-profile MCA candidates are overshadowed by their DAP counterparts who were more outspoken and aggressive. DAP’s Kulai candidate Teo Nie Ching has been effectively highlighting the high crime rate and corruption through banners and postcards.
In Kluang, DAP’s Liew Chin Tong made a pledge – “let the whole nation sees Kluang, let’s keep our dream here” – which caught the imagination of the voters who feel there is lack of development and job opportunities in this central Johor town.
The Segamat seat looks ripe for Chua Jui Meng’s picking as evident by the Pakatan mega ceramah last week which drew an unprecedented crowd.
Incumbent BN candidate Dr S Subramaniam, who won the seat with only a 2,991-vote majority in 2008, suffered a blow after a group of National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) members staged a two-day protest against him last week over the minimum wage dispute.
DAP’s only Malay candidate in Johor – Mahdzir Ibrahim – may spring a surprise victory in Tanjung Piai in the wake of strong positive response he received during his ceramah. The ceramah on Thursday attracted 7,000 people.
Meanwhile, if Pakatan gets 305 to 35% of the Malay votes, then it may also emerge victor in the parliamentary seats of Muar, Ledang and Tebrau. This would provide them with the 11 seats it eagerly wants in Johor in order to wrest Putrajaya.
The candidates contesting the 11 parliamentary seats in Johor are:
Gelang Patah – Abdul Ghani Othman (BN) vs Lim Kit Siang (DAP)
Kulai – Tay Chin Hein (BN) vs Teo Nie Ching (DAP) vs K. Surendiran (Ind)
Kluang – incumbent Ho Kok Chung (BN) vs Liew Chin Tong (DAP)
Labis – incumbent Chua Tee Yong (BN) vs S. Ramakrishnan (DAP)
Tanjung Piai – incumbent Wee Jeck Seng (BN) vs Mahdzir Ibrahim (DAP)
Segamat – incumbent S. Subramaniam (BN) vs Chua Jui Meng (PKR)
Pulai – incumbent Nur Jazlan Mohamed (BN) vs Salahuddin Ayub (PAS)
Bakri – incumbent Er Teck Hwa (DAP) vs Lee Ching Yong (BN)
Muar – incumbent Razali Ibrahim (BN) vs Nor Hizwan Ahmad (PKR)
Ledang – incumbent Hamin Samuri (BN) vs Hassan Abdul Karim (PKR)
Tebrau – Khoo Soo Seang (BN) vs Steven Choong (PKR)