KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — With the Johor elections set to happen, the DAP’s Liew Chin Tong has urged the state’s voters to be the spark that would set off a national reset, as he called on them to support both state and federal reform by voting for Pakatan Harapan and its allies.
“Now that the state assembly is dissolved, the people have to fight it out and change the course of history via Johor. The people can voice out their support through Pakatan Harapan (PH) and its allies,” he said in a statement.
“Let Johor be where it all begins,” the DAP senator, a Johor native, added.
“From Johor, there will rise a newly realigned force of good that will win this election, to reform the state and the nation, and to bring better lives to Bangsa Johor.”
Johor is often the springboard state that makes history each time Malaysia arrives at a turning point, Liew noted, citing the state’s crucial role in birthing political movements that have come to shape the country throughout its modern history.
For contemporary DAP, one of three component members that form PH, Johor was a key state that delivered the parliamentary seats that the coalition needed to form government at the federal level in May 2018.
On general election night of May 9, 2018, Harapan won 18 out of 26 parliamentary seats in Johor and 36 out of 56 state seats, something unthinkable prior.
Of the 98 seats Pakatan Harapan won in the Peninsula, Johor contributed almost 20 per cent of the seats, Liew noted.
The DAP senator said Johor voters must not hand BN and Umno a win because a victory for the coalition will only serve the interests of alleged corrupt leaders like former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his deputy Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, and not the people.
“The Johor snap polls declared yesterday will not serve the people’s interests except for Umno leadership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, as well as Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin and Datuk Seri Nur Jazlan Mohamed, both their frontrunners in Johor who pushed for dissolution,” he said.
Johor will head into polls in 60 days after monarch Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar agreed to dissolve the state legislative assembly yesterday evening, ostensibly over concerns that the single-seat majority held by the current Umno-led administration would expose the state to political instability.
Umno leaders from the state have been pushing for the dissolution, saying the party needs a fresh mandate and a stronger majority to avoid being held hostage by their political rivals.
Pundits believe Umno is confident that it could wrest seats helmed by arch-rivals Bersatu, a splinter group, as well as several of PKR’s seats, optimism likely buoyed by the party’s showings at both the Sabah and Melaka state polls.
But Liew said the Johor polls will not be a walk in the park for Umno, citing the induction of a new and larger group of younger electorates whose politics do not necessarily align with that of the party.
“This is the first election to see Undi18 and automatically registered voters on board. The new voters were added to the master electoral roll on January 14, 2022,” the DAP senator said.
“Allowing 18 years old to vote has been an agenda Lim Kit Siang had championed since 1971, more than half a century ago. Parliament finally approved the constitutional amendments to effect Undi18 on July 16, 2019.”