Johor DAP finds it tough to garner Chinese support for Pakatan ahead of Tanjung Piai polls

Ben Tan
PH’s candidate for the Tanjung Piai by-election Karmaine Sardini (centre) and DAP’s Lim Kit Siang greeting some of the attendees at a forum in Kampung Penerok in Pontian November 6, 2019. — Bernama pic

PONTIAN, Nov 11 — With three days left before polling day, Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) hope for clinching the Tanjung Piai by-election is still divided as the ruling coalition has yet to fully convince the Chinese community, said Johor DAP secretary Tan Hong Pin.

He said the support for the PH stood at 50/50 and described the Chinese community, especially those in Pekan Nanas, as being complex voters for the ruling coalition to tackle.

“The Chinese electorate in Pekan Nanas can be described as “cool” with a “wait and see” attitude before giving their support.

“In the past, even DAP’s best speakers have described the Pekan Nanas Chinese community as challenging,” said Tan after a ceramah at the NR Food Court along Jalan Johor here tonight.

More than 100 people attended the event featuring DAP’s supremo Lim Kit Siang, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok Suh Sim and also Semerah state assemblyman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar.

Tan was asked to comment on PH’s effort in tackling the perceived lack of support by the Chinese community ahead of the November 16 polls.

The Tanjung Piai parliamentary constituency is divided into Pekan Nanas that has 26,608 registered voters with nearly half of the voters being ethnic Chinese, while Kukup has 26,920 voters where 60 per cent of them are Malay.

The Pekan Nanas Chinese voters has traditionally been seen as DAP’s vote bank for the past two general elections.

Tan, who has been instrumental in campaigning for PH for the Tanjung Piai by-election, explained that he was still confident that the Chinese community will give their support to the ruling coalition.

“I’m still confidence that the Chinese voter response for PH is there and the ruling coalition stands a good chance of winning the by-election,” he said, adding that he did not believe the community will translate their votes to other parties in protest.

Tan, who is also the Skudai state assemblyman, also played down talk that Chinese support for PH was declining based on Chinese community’s support at its events and ceramahs.

“DAP experienced a large crowd and support in Penang back in 1995, but we managed to only clinch two state seats then.

“However, in the last year’s general election, Pekan Nanas state assemblyman Yeo Tung Siong also experienced difficulties in getting crowds for his programmes. However, he successfully managed to defend his seat,” said Tan.

The Tanjung Piai by-election will see a six-way contest between PH’s Karmaine Sardini, BN’s Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng, Gerakan’s Wendy Subramaniam, Berjasa’s Datuk Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz, and two independent candidates Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abdul Ghaffar.

Polling is scheduled for this Saturday.

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