Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Jeff Ooi's chance in Bukit Bendera

I wonder why the press don’t say:

Lim Kit Siang, the DAP politician and blogger, or
Teresa Kok, the DAP politician and blogger, or
Tony Pua, the DAP politician, and blogger?

Yet when it comes to Jeff Ooi, Malaysiakini and other newspapers would refer to him as a blogger.

Sure he is, but … why not refer to him as a DAP politician? He is that now, and he could well be the next federal MP for Bukit Bendera!

In an earlier post DAP prospects in Penang - Makkal Sakti factor I mentioned the Hindraf has awoken the Indian voters, but I also queried whether the DAP can convince them to vote for its candidates.

Playing around with old 2004 election figure, and also working on very conservative expectations of Chinese voters swing to the DAP but focusing on what a seismic shift in Indian voting pattern can achieve, I said that it would be possible to take Bukit Bendera away from a fairly popular Chia Kwang Chye of Gerakan.

Alternatively, and less likely, if there is a major shift of Chinese voters over to the DAP, and it’s possible because DAP had held Bukit Bendera before, Jeff as the DAP rep could well be sitting in Parliament sometime middle of this year.

As bloggers we are of course interested in Jeff’s chances, so let’s examine some pros and cons for him as a candidate for BB.


(1) DAP brand – in the last election even a Malay candidate under the DAP banner in this Chinese majority seat could secure 18000 of the 47000 votes. That’s nearly 40%, and the only reason why Zulkifli didn’t roam all the way home was that he was a johnny-come-lately rather than a non Chinese. The DAP had failed to prepare him for or introduce him to the voters well ahead.

(2) There is dissatisfaction with the UMNO-led BN.

(3) It’s a federal seat and Chinese Penangites are more likely prepared/ready to give it to a DAP bloke.


(1) Chia Kwang Chye hasn't been exactly idling and taking things for granted. He will be a formidable opponent for Jeff.

(2) Jeff is not well known in BB. Though he’s from Sebarang Perai, he’s what the islanders would call ‘koay karng larng’ (bloke from across the river). Islanders tend to consider 'koay karng lang’ as semi foreigners ;-)

(3) The voters, especially those in the Ayer Itam village and Rifle Range locality, are those who are more likely to identify themselves with the Gerakan (hawkers’ patron) than with Jeff.

But it’s still do-able for Jeff, depending on he plays the game. And he has started off by blaming UMNO for the economic downturn in Penang - see Malaysiakini article The Umno factor in Penang politics.

Jeff lambasted the UMNO federal government's powerful Economic Planning Unit for filtering off foreign direct investment (FDI) into the state. He said: "Umno has not been very supportive of the Gerakan in terms of allowing more value-added and state of the art companies to come to Penang."

He needs to do more than that as the BB voters are fairly sophisticated and have their own impression of the government and how to fix the BN, that is, if they want to. Chia Kwang Chye no doubt will be campaigning to convince them otherwise.

More than that, they are practical - they want to know what he'll do for them. The blogging reputation may strike a chord only with those familiar with the Internet, but these aren’t exactly the majority.

I hope to see Jeff pull a few rabbits out of his ... er ... browser ;-)


  1. Hmm..Chia Kwang Chye is a Kota Tinggi (Johor) lang...so Jeff being a 'koay karng lang’ shouldn't be an issue.

    But I quite agree..Jeff will be in for a formidable fight in Bukit Bendera.

  2. I live in the constituency. This time round, I vote the party and not the person. Hence, Jeff welcome to Penang and onwards to Parliament.

  3. kt, to your question right in the beginning... simple lah. jeff was a blogger first... and a famous one (some say most influential) before he turned politician, whereas the others you mentioned were politicians first before they turned bloggers.

    so jeff is contesting in bkt bendera eh... you mentioned in my blog bkt bendera was your constituency when you were in penang right? all the best to jeff... hope he wins.

    kitty and jeffrey, both of you are in penang... perhaps can help jeff in campaigning? or perhaps sign up for the election observers session?

  4. Traditionally, DAP are always terrible in information and flexibility on strategy. I hope Jeff Ooi does make change, some rabbits out of his blog will be good.

  5. Jeff Ooi should hammer in the UMNO factor in Penang politics in the sense that UMNO is the MAIN CULPRIT and the cause of the troubles of the voters because of its racist policies ala Ketuanan Melayu. Jeff should continually prod Gerakan to call on UMNO to transform itself into a United Malaysian National Organisation open to all races. DAP and Keadilan should also cooperate closely in Penang to ensure that Anwar leads Keadilan to erode UMNO's support in Province Wellesley. DAP and Keadilan should know very well that Penang cannot fall unless UMNO itself loses heavily like what happened in 1969. Gerakan under Dr Lim Chong Eu won because they defeated 6 out of 10 UMNO candidates in addition to wiping out MCA and MIC candidates. So the main culprit in Penang as elsewhere is UMNO. Knock out UMNO and Gerakan and MCA would have to review all their policies ...or follow UMNO into defeat.

  6. BN in Bkt Bendera has not been doing much for the community there. Not even a flower plant on it's Bkt Bendera only roundabout. And it is always the crazy traffic Jam along it's stretch particularly from Chung Ling High School to Masjid Negeri. And the Government Clinic there is packed to the brim and I think still no plan for it's renovation since World War 2.

    And for Paya Terubong which is Bkt Bendera' neighbour, the Lee Rubber Factory is untouchable and causes nausea a mile away with it's rubber processing fume. Yuckk...

    One of the best place to hantam BN.