PR poised to win 10-15 parliamentary seats in Johor, 30% of state seats - PKR's Tan Poh Lai
Written by Wong Choon Mei, Alaa Soleiman, Malaysia ChroniclePKR Johor Bahru division chief Tan Poh Lai is confident that the Opposition can sweep as many as 10 to 15 parliamentary seats in Johor state and at least 30% of the 56 seats in the state assembly.
"It is clear the people are behind us. Barring electoral fraud which we have to admit is a major problem and given a more level playing field, we expect to do very well. No, Johor is no longer the bastion or stronghold for Umno or MCA anymore," Poh Lai told Malaysia Chronicle at the sidelines of a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Davina vs Goliath battle for JB?
The 52-year-old lawyer is the daughter of the late veteran leader Tan Chee Khoon. She is widely expected to be fielded to contest the Johor Bahru seat, now held by Umno's Shahrir Samad.
According to Poh Lai, Shahrir will "definitely" defend the JB seat based on information that she has received.
"I am the JB chief, so it doesn't make sense for me not to contest the seat or try to shift to a so-called safe seat. So if given the chance to contest, of course I would accept. The person to beat would be Shahrir. It won't be easy but I can promise him a tough fight," said Poh Lai, who is also a mother of 3.
In 12th general election in 2008, Shahrir beat PKR's Hassan Karim with a majority of 25,349 votes. In 2004, Shahrir's majority was even larger at more than 45,000 votes.
Malays voters make up the majority in the Johor Bahru parliamentary constituency, forming 51% of an electorate size of about 100,000. Chinese voters are next largest at 43% while rest are Indians and other races.
'People are with us'
Johor is a big state with 26 parliamentary seats and 56 state seats. In the 2008 general election, the Johor BN lost only one parliamentary seat and 6 state seats. That contributed a lot to keeping the BN in power.
Although, Johor is often called the 'birthplace' of Umno and its fortress, it is also a source of life-saving votes for the BN components - MCA, the Gerakan and the MIC. Seven of the MCA's 15 parliamentary seats and 12 of its 35 state seats come from Johor.
As for the Gerakan, one of its two parliamentary seats and 2 of its four state seats are in Johor. Similarly, for the MIC, one of its three parliamentary seats and four of its seven state seats are in Johor.
"This is why Johor is such a crucial state for BN. It needs to do well here or lose the 13th GE and Umno knows this. PR ceramah (rallies) especially those with Anwar Ibrahim or the other top PR brass are often targeted by hooligans who will create trouble or try to stop the people from coming out to see us and listen to us. But the wind of change is strong and we can feel the people are with us," said Poh Lai.