Chin Tong ordered to contest Johor seat despite reluctance

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Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong has been ordered to contest in the upcoming Johor state election, revealed Anthony Loke.

The DAP national organising secretary told Malaysiakini that the decision was made despite Liew’s reluctance to be fielded as a candidate for a state seat.

“I can confirm that the party central leadership has directed him (Liew) to contest.

“Because the leadership feels that Liew as the state committee chair, he must be the general and lead (other DAP candidates) into battle.

“He must be part of the battlefield,” Loke told Malaysiakini in an interview in Kuala Lumpur.

Liew has never contested a state seat before. He made his political debut in 2008 by winning the Bukit Bendera parliamentary seat.

He moved to Johor in 2013 and won Kluang parliamentary seat. Liew then challenged MCA president Wee Ka Siong in the 2018 general election but lost by a narrow 303-vote-majority in Ayer Hitam.

Asked which seat Liew will be asked to fight, Loke said the details will be revealed at a later event.

However, Loke confirmed that it would not be the Skudai state seat, which DAP won handsomely in 2018.

The incumbent in Skudai is Tan Hong Pin, who won with a 35,126-vote majority in the 2018 general election.

Tan will not be contesting in the Johor state polls as he is expected to be fielded in the Labis parliamentary seat in the upcoming general election, which is due in 2023 but could be held earlier.

According to Loke, Liew had expressed his preference to contest at the national level.

“But this round because it is a separate election for the state, he cannot run away. He must contest to be seen as leading the campaign,” Loke said.

Asked if this means that Liew would not be fielded to contest a parliamentary seat in the 15th general election, Loke said it was still premature to discuss the matter.

In the past, only the Sarawak election is held separately from the federal elections.

However, political realignments since the 2018 general election have led to state polls being called in Sabah, Malacca and now Johor before the federal election.

This has also forced parties to change the way they field candidates as they can no longer conveniently move a candidate from a state to a federal seat or vice versa.

Johoreans will go to the polls on March 12. Nomination day is fixed for Feb 26. – Malaysiakini