The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak boasted at the opening of the Johor Baru UMNO division delegates’ conference last Friday that UMNO is a political party that can also flourish in Malaysia’s urban areas.
He said the party’s success in Johor Baru, for example, proved that the nation’s largest Malay-based political party continues to receive the people’s support even though the city had undergone a rapid urbanisation process.
He said: “I’m very impressed with the success of Johor Baru Umno because in the political history of our country, if there is an urbanisation phenomenon, demographic change and rapid development in any city, sooner or later, the (administration of the) city will be transferred from Umno or BN to the opposition.
“There is no state capital that has remained as Umno-BN constituency, but congratulations to Johor Baru Umno for being able to balance the urbanisation process and retain Umno-BN’s power.
“Based on this fact, if anyone should say that Umno is a ‘village people or rural folks political party’, then Johor Baru Umno has proved them wrong.
“The support for Umno does not necessarily come from rural areas only because the party can indeed flourish in urban areas.”
From recent electoral trends in the last three general elections since 2004, Najib’s boast may be debunked in the forthcoming 14th General Election.
The trends in the results in the 2004, 2008 and 2013 General Elections indicate that at least two of the three parliamentary constituencies in Johor Baru, if not all three, are likely to be won by the Pakatan Harapan coalition.
The three parliamentary constituencies in Johor Baru are Pasir Gudang, Tebrau and Johor Baharu, and their results in the 2004, 2008 and 2013 GEs are as follows:
The huge Barisan Nasional majority of 26,011 votes in the Tebrau parliamentary constituency in 2004GE had been slashed to 14,851-vote majority in 2008GE and the wafer-thin majority of 1,767 votes in 2013GE; while in Pasir Gudang parliamentary constituency, the huge 31,121-vote majority in the 2004GE had been slashed to 17,281-vote majority in 2008GE and the tantalizingly meagre majority of 935 votes in the 2013GE.
The trend in the Johor Bahru parliamentary constituency is the same although not so dramatic as in the Tebrau and Pasir Gudang constituencies, with the Johor Baru Member of Parliament Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad’s majority slashed from the gargantuan 46,791 votes in 2004GE to 25,349 votes in 2008GE and 10,495 in 2013GE.
If this trend continues, then UMNO/BN will lose two if not all three parliamentary constituencies in Johor Baru.
This means that UMNO/BN likely to lose Johor Baru as the sole state capital won by UMNO/BN candidates in the forthcoming 14GE, whether this year or next.
DAP is keen to contest in one of the three Johor Baru parliamentary constituencies – even the most difficult one of Johor Baru parliamentary constituency.
The final decision of whether DAP is to contest in one of the three parliamentary constituencies in Johor Baru will be made by the Pakatan Harapan leadership.