If Umno can convince former minister Shahrir Samad to contest, the party may get to keep Johor Baru in the coming general election.
In the 2008 general election, there was a 14% swing to the opposition. What has happened to that swing? It is increasing and getting stronger.
And this has got the menteri besar worried, intimating to his Umno division heads in one meeting that he expects at least nine parliamentary seats and up to 16 state seats to fall to the opposition in the 13th general election.
That means he has not discounted fully the swing to the opposition.
He has acknowledged that, at best, with all the efforts and the bribery that Umno has carried out, the party has only managed to claim back some 5%.
That means there is still around a 9% swing with the opposition.
Based on that conservative assumption, the nine parliamentary seats are indeed in jeopardy.
My personal view is that Pakatan Rakyat can win the nine parliamentary seats and more.
Umno and Barisan Nasional is dicey in at least six more seats – Tanjung Piai, Gelang Patah, Pulai, Pasir Gudang Tebrau, Simpang Rengam and Parit Sulong.
Which really means, Pakatan could end up with between nine and 15 seats.
Will Shahrir contest?
Having said that, there is also the Johor Baru seat to consider. JB has a sizeable Chinese population which should prove to be a boon to Pakatan.
The determining factor here would be Umno’s choice of candidates. If Shahrir Samad chooses to retire, then JB will fall to Pakatan.
Shahrir can only be persuaded to stand if the Umno people can stoke his contempt for Anwar Ibrahim.
Shahrir himself is not that confident. He has said privately that most of the faces he sees in JB are not familiar to him.
The other seat which I am interested to see is Pulai. It’s currently held by UDA Holdings Bhd chairman Nur Jazlan Mohamed Rahmat.
Nur Jazlan is a decent fellow but has recently been the victim of Umno’s habit of practising infanticide. It kills off its young talent.
When Nur Jazlan came up with a strategy of raising money for UDA with the redevelopment of the Pudu Jail area, he became a victim to the ravenous appetite of Umno warlords ever on the lookout of using government to make tons of money.
And that has not gone down well with him and his supporters.
The writer is a former Umno state assemblyman but joined DAP earlier this year. He is a FMT columnist.