JOHOR BARU, Nov 26 — PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s visit to Johor tomorrow could include him identifying federal seats to possibly contest during the 15th general election, according to a Pakatan Harapan source.
This was in addition to welcoming Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik, the former Bersatu turned PH-friendly Independent, into PKR.
The source said the 74-year-old federal Opposition leader and PH chairman was keen to earmark at least one federal constituency in the state to possibly contest.
“We were told that the Tebrau, Segamat and Batu Pahat parliamentary seats in Johor were shortlisted from a handful where PKR has a strong following in those areas.
“After all, those seats were also contested by PKR during the last general election before the incumbent MPs split from the party to support the then ruling Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition.
“However, the Tebrau seat looks more favourable for Anwar if he decides to contest in Johor instead of his incumbent seat in Port Dickson (Negri Sembilan) or even his traditional seat in Pematang Pauh (Penang),” the source told Malay Mail on the condition of anonymity.
The person said the PKR leadership considered Tebrau to be a strong possibility given that the incumbent MP, Steven Choong, defected during the so-called “Sheraton Move” in 2020 to align himself with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and Perikatan Nasional pending the formation of his new Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM).
PKR already has a strong presence in Tebrau that was considered one of the party’s most valuable constituencies in the state, the source added when concluding it would likely be the best choice for Anwar.
In 2018, Tebrau had a total of 123,033 registered voters who were 47.2 per cent Malay, 39.36 per cent Chinese, 11.54 per cent Indian, and with other races making up the remainder 1.9 per cent in the urban parliamentary constituency.
In the 2018 general election, Choong, who contested under PKR, made huge gains for the party as he garnered 64,535 votes while his closest rival, MCA’s Hou Kok Chung, took only 27,310.
On the inclusion of Maszlee as a PKR member, another source said that it will be a boost for the party and its Johor chapter.
“Maszlee has a good following and he is seen as a clean and dependable politician, which are traits suited to our party.
“The former education minister’s acceptance into PKR will be good to strengthen the party’s Johor chapter as well as the state’s PH coalition towards the coming general elections,” said the source.
The same source added that before welcoming Maszlee, Anwar was also scheduled to address over 400 Johor PKR members, consisting of branch heads, division leaders and also state leaders at the Dewan Persatuan India in Kluang at noon tomorrow.
“All Johor PKR assemblyman and MPs were also told to attend the event that is essentially to strengthen the party’s morale after its disastrous showing in the Melaka polls last Saturday,” said the source.
However, the source insisted that Anwar’s visit will be a mainly a PKR party affair culminating with his visit to the Simpang Renggam constituency to officially announce Maszlee as a PKR member.