It is not a secret anymore that Johor DAP chief Dr Boo Cheng Hau and Johor PKR chief Datuk Seri Chua Jui Meng are not the very best of friends.
They were till now struggling to settle their differences over the seats allocation between their two parties for the coming general election.
Every time Johor PKR organize a function at their usual venue near the Sutera Mall in Skudai Johor Baru, Dr Boo would be conspicuously missing despite the place being in his constituency. This is so even if the function is attended by DS Anwar Ibrahim, the de factor leader of Pakatan.
Johor DAP being the stronger party, courtesy of the perceived strong support of the Chinese community does not really feel the need to accommodate its PKR Pakatan partner. It now feels strong enough to win enough parliament and state seats in Chinese majority constituency without the need of PKR which doesn't even have a proper election machinery in the State.
Dr Boo knows that there is no way Pakatan could take over Johor, so concentration of the DAP now is for it to win as many seats, particularly parliamentary seats, as possible in Chinese majority areas. For that, DAP would not back off from demands by PKR to put their candidates in constituency with significant number of Chinese voters. Those must be reserved for DAP as it feels that victory is guaranteed if a candidate from the party is fielded there.
Former MCA man Jui Meng himself had find it hard to settle down on which constituency he is going to contest. His attempt to go back to his former stronghold Bakri had been thwarted, not only by Dr Boo, but by none other than the all powerful DAP sec-gen Lim Guan Eng. Guan Eng would not back down on this as Bakri is now a DAP seat. True to itself, DAP is not going to let go of what it has.
Next, Jui Meng tried to move to Gelang Patah, another Chinese-majority area said to be ripe for Pakatan's picking. This plan however hit a snag as half of Gelang Patah is Skudai which is Dr Boo's stronghold and it was made known to Jui Meng that if he insisted to contest there, the Dr Boo's people will make sure he suffered such an embarrassing defeat that it will end his political career for good.
In 2008, Pakatan fielded a PKR candidate in Gelang Patah. The Malay lady doctor lose despite the groundswell against the BN government at that time. It was said that Pakatan would had won the seat if a Chinese DAP candidate was fielded in the constituency with 53 per cent Chinese voters. Johor DAP sources had indicated that Dr Boo is likely to contest the seat himself in the coming election to pave his way to national-level politics.
As for Jui Meng, it is most likely that he has to settle with contesting in Segamat against MIC deputy president Subramaniam. He will needs lots of luck to make any impact there.
Johor DAP is also in the process of discarding other baggages which may spoilt its quest to win as many seats as possible with the support of the Chinese community in the state.
Realizing the liabilities posed by Pas with its hudud dream and other Islamic agenda, Johor DAP is now in the process of distancing itself from the party, at least just in the State, so as not to spook its non-Muslim supporters.
In the latest development, Dr Boo's deputy, Norman Fernandez wrote several stinging attacks against Pas in his blog. He even wrote to a pro-BN blogger about the dastardly behaviour of the Pas people here -
These moves to go on their own was ingenious of Johor DAP. Dr Boo being known as one of those rare independent minded DAP leader was said to have just shrugged his shoulders when inquired by Guan Eng's people about the antics of Fernandez.
Guan Eng, despite agreeing with Dr Boo on the Jui Meng issue was said to be quite displeased with Dr Boo's tactics of distancing Johor DAP from Pas. A conflict with Pas could seriously damage the party's electoral chances at national level, especially in other states, such as Selangor and Perak.
Dr Boo had nonetheless been sticking to his plan of solely winning as much support for the party from the large Chinese community in Johor. He is willing to sacrifice the alliance with Johor Pas and PKR as the alliance is now more of a liability than anything else for Johor DAP.
Dr Boo also knows that the attempt to use Johor Pas to break up the Malay vote bank had failed. The Johorean Malays, except for a few pockets here and there are more or less now solidly behind BN.
On top of failing that objective, all the noises of Pas' hudud dreams and other Islamic aspirations were also said to be scaring away the non-Muslim voters including the Chinese.
Dr Boo, being a practical doctor that he is, realized this and is cutting Johor DAP's losses.