MARCH 19 — Gelang Patah was a legend in the last general election.
Then Pakatan Rakyat wanted to crush the BN stronghold of Johor, and Lim Kit Siang picked Gelang Patah as his battleground.
Lim's strategy worked. He successfully created a strong anti-establishment sentiment among the state's Chinese voters.
He not only took down former mentri besar Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Othman, but also helped PR capture a good number of parliamentary and state seats.
Abdul Ghani has since bowed out of politics, but the dust has yet to settle in Gelang Patah.
In 2013, the local MCA division chief Jason Teoh was prepared to help BN retain the Gelang Patah seat, but was forced to give way to Abdul Ghani.
He has not given up Gelang Patah until this day.
“It is not important whether my opponent will be Lim Kit Siang. I can't choose my opponent. I can only do my best to serve the people of Gelang Patah. I want them to see my work.”
Many will tend to look at Jason Teoh with a hint of compassion, a man who has been working very hard with his own resources but was denied the opportunity to run in GE13.
With the MCA leadership still holding back an official announcement of his candidacy now, his nervousness is easily felt.
Many believe his chances are slim even if he gets a chance this time.
And it is not hard to see why. Lim Kit Siang is the DAP supremo, and more than half of Gelang Patah's voters are Chinese!
But Teoh is not about to give up his fight.
He is well aware that Chinese voters are frustrated with the government and firmly reject BN. But he hopes to win some support by helping the constituents and solving their problems.
Teoh is a successful businessman with over 1,500 people working in companies under his name.
A person like him is believably a very busy one, who would put all his time and attention on his business.
But when I met him, his phone kept ringing, calls from people seeking his assistance: someone's child had been detained by the police, and someone was sick and needed him to help with hospital admission.
Despite the fact he had a lot of assistants, he insisted to pick up each of those calls personally.
With more than 130,000 voters, Gelang Patah is one of the country's most populous constituencies. Is Teoh capable of managing all the problems directed to him?
There are two state assembly seats under Gelang Patah; one of them is Skudai now held by DAP's Boo Cheng Hau for a second term.
A doctor by training, Boo is not only a state assemblyman but also DAP's former Johor chairman, a man playing a pivotal role in the party's substantial inroads into the BN fixed deposit state.
Of course, he was later sidelined by party leadership for differing views.
When I saw him, he declined to talk about party infighting, focusing instead on the coming election.
He was only interested in retaining his Skudai seat, and was unmoved by a possible offer to run in a parliamentary race as well.
No one will doubt his winning chances. His commitment to his political belief, his harsh criticisms against the government and his care for the many issues of this country have won him tremendous applause and approval among the local Chinese.
At the same time he is also concerned about the well-being of his voters, and has served his people with a level of enthusiasm that far outpaces that of any opposition rep.
He will not turn away help seekers and will show up personally at any local event or incident that requires his presence.
Many other opposition reps will conveniently tell their voters, “We are opposition. We can't do anything to help you.”
Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong once said admittedly, “He is that kind of opponent MCA fears most to confront. He not only makes political comments factually but also serves his constituents conscientiously.”
Jason Teoh and Boo Cheng Hau, politicians on opposite sides of the divide, are both doing their utmost for Gelang Patah, both serving as inspiring models for Malaysian politics. — Sin Chew Daily
*This commentary was first published here.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.