Uncommon Sense with Wong Chin Huat: The battle for Johor


THE Nut Graph speaks to political scientist Wong Chin Huat on the exciting contest in Johor this coming general election. Will the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) make significant inroads in this Barisan Nasional (BN) bastion? Or is the BN support in Johor just too strong to overcome?

TNG: What accounts for the BN’s strong support in Johor? 

Johor’s colonial history is unique compared with other Malay states. Thanks to Sultan Abu Bakar’s modernisation and diplomacy, Johor managed to delay British “protection” till as late as 1915 and, hence, maintained more autonomy. One outcome of that is a competent and confident Malay aristocratic-administrative elite. Umno’s founder and first president, Datuk Onn Jaafar, is from Johor, making Johor the party’s birthplace and creating a special bond between the two.

Additionally, the influx of Chinese immigrants was engineered by Sultan Abu Bakar and his father, Temenggung Ibrahim, rather than the British. This resulted in close ties between the Malay feudal class and the Chinese capitalists, which partially translated into an Umno-MCA bond in modern politics. While there were incidents where Chinese Malaysian cultural heritage or religious freedom were allegedly suppressed, Johor MCA generally delivered what the community expected. Like Johor Umno, Johor MCA is strong within the party. So far, four out of nine MCA presidents have been elected as parliamentarians in Johor: Tan Sri Lee San Choon, Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting and Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

Read more at: http://www.thenutgraph.com/uncommon-sense-with-wong-chin-huat-the-battle-for-johor/