PETALING JAYA: Johor DAP has begun preparations for possible early elections to the state assembly because it believes Johor Umno wants to distance itself from negative feelings about Umno president Najib Razak.
A state-level preparatory meeting was held on Saturday in Batu Pahat, which was also attended by DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and senior Selangor DAP officials.
The party was “running against time”, said Johor DAP chairman Liew Chin Tong when opening the meeting.
“We cannot rule out a separate state election in Johor and Sabah as Johor Umno is trying to ‘decouple’ itself from the negative sentiments against Najib Razak,” he said.
Najib, as Umno president and prime minister, has been the subject of a sustained campaign by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad to force him out of office because of the financial affairs of 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Liew said Johore DAP had formed a state election committee in May and will hold election workshops in each parliamentary constituency, starting with Kluang today.
He urged the party to go beyond campaigning on anti-Najib sentiments, and to build “a new national narrative” with a clear alternative policy agenda and a strong connection with the local communities.
He said the party must convince Malaysians that life would be better after the fall of Najib and a defeat of Barisan Nasional and that a change of federal and state governments was part of the country’s maturing process.
Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, local councillors and Selangor DAP’s political education director Lee Kee Hiong were among those who attended the meeting.
Liew said Ean Yong had offered to create an internship for Johor DAP leaders to learn from various levels of the Selangor state government, formed by PKR, DAP and PAS.
Others at the meeting were Lee , the Selangor assembly member for Kuala Kubu Baru; S. Ramakrisnan, deputy chairman of Johor DAP; Gan Peck Cheng, who is opposition leader in the state assembly, Lim Eng Guan of Johor DAP’s election committee, and other Johor elected representatives and members of the state leadership.