KUALA LUMPUR: Johor DAP has identified several seats that would face stiff challenge from Barisan Nasional (BN) at the next polls, including Umno strongholds created more than two decades back.
Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong said the seats include Ledang, Labis, Segamat, Muar, Sekijang, Pagoh, Kulai, Pasir Gudang, Tebrau, Johor Baru and Simpang Renggam.
The Kluang MP defines the “competitive seats” as being those that could determine the outcome of the elections in Johor.
“If there are any changes, it will happen here. These are seats where a small swing of Malay votes will tilt the balance.
“Among Johor’s 26 parliamentary seats, 18 of them have less than 60% Malay voters while eight have 60% or more Malays.”
Liew said the Malay votes are crucial in the next general election.
He said seats with between 50% and 60% Malay voters and a substantial presence of non-Malay voters will determine the outcome of the elections in Johor.
He said while BN dismissed DAP or Pakatan Harapan’s chances, he believed a Malay swing was not impossible.
“Most of the seats in Johor were gerrymandered in the 1993 and 2013 re-delineation exercises into multi-ethnic constituencies to make them impossible for the previously fragmented opposition to win before 2008.
“But if it worked against BN, these seats can easily turn into massive dominos,” he said.
Liew said the Sembrong seat was carved out by the Election Commission in 1993, adding that it was to favour Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, the seat’s incumbent since 1995.
“If Sembrong is in danger of falling, everywhere else is,” he said.
Asked about the palace factor in Umno’s support, Liew said it was very subjective.
“Do you think the Johor royalty wants to be seen as closely related to Umno?” he said.
Liew said voters from outside the state also posed a problem for Umno.
“Outside voters are very sophisticated. Many comentators think they will vote according to blocs. However, I would say that it will be different this time around.
“At least half of the Malay voters are making politial decisions not based on block votes.”