Dari Sin Chew Daily
Oleh Tay Tian Yan
Diterjemah oleh Dominic Loh
1 Disember 2011
The Battle Royale
PKR and Umno have successively held their general assemblies.
And the timing offers an excellent opportunity for people to make a comparison between the two.
PKR’s assembly was anything but momentous. Safe for the challenge by Youth leader Shamsul Iskandar that Umno amend the Constitution to ensure only Malays could become the country’s prime minister, which did manage to arouse some controversies, the assembly was otherwise largely uneventful and uninteresting.
But that does not mean PKR is devoid of its characteristics. Just the opposite, the party made a wise strategic move by holding its general assembly in Johor Bahru.
Wait a minute! JB? The stronghold of Umno? Was PKR looking for trouble?
Not exactly. The strongest point of the rival could also be its most vulnerable part.
The clash of German and Soviet tanks in Kursk during World War II is a point in question.
The Germans’ fortress was on the west of Kursk. However, they opted to launch their attack from the south and north in an attempt to encircle the Soviet troops and wipe them out.
The Soviet troops almost could not resist the 6,000-strong tank invasion from the south and north, and it was pretty clear that the Russians were very likely to be crushed anytime. But then the Germans halted their assault due to supply disruption.
Seizing the opportunity, General Georgy Zhukov mobilised his troops to counter-attack the Germans on the west. With most of their troops now bogged down in the north and south, the Germans were unable to redeploy their men to defend and were defeated, spelling a prelude to their eventual surrender.
Back to our country. Many people think that the major battlefields in the coming general election will be in Selangor, Perak and Kedah. To be honest, the place that will determine the final outcome is none other than BN’s stronghold in Johor.
States like Perak, Selangor, Kedah and Terengganu are most definitely the frontline states that will see very heavy gunfire.
While both BN and Pakatan may lose or gain some seats in these states, or perhaps some state administrations may even change hands after the election, the outcome is nevertheless unlikely to alter the parliamentary tectonic plate post-2008.
Johor is the biggest unknown. It is indeed a powerful fortress state for BN on peninsular Malaysia, but no one can tell whether it will remain BN’s most assured asset.
BN’s two other fortresses–Sarawak and Sabah–are basically heavily secured lots that are extremely unlikely to tip.
Johor provides a different picture. It is not that segregated as the two states in East Malaysia while the people have higher political awareness and better access to information.
Unmoved in March 2008 does not mean Johor will remain unmoved in the coming general election.
Moreover, the state has a relatively high ratio of Chinese population: Over 30% in most constituencies and 40% in some.
Besides Bakri that is already in DAP’s embraces, constituencies like Kluang, Gelang Patah, Tebrau, Pasir Gudang, Labis, Johor Bahru, Pulai, Tanjung Piai, Segamat and Sekijang are all no longer BN’s sure bets.
If BN loses this important battlefront, its hopes of retaining Putrajaya could be dashed.
The weakest part of PKR and Pakatan in general lies in its poor organisation and fighting spirit in Johor, as well as their lack of substantial support among the Malay society.
That said, it will be the parties’ strategies and real strengths that will eventually decide the final score.
—Sin Chew Daily