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Malaysia GE13: DAP's Kit Siang wins battle for Gelang Patah

Published on May 5, 2013 11:37 PM

Opposition veteran Lim Kit Siang on Sunday defeated Johor's outgoing Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman in Gelang Patah by over 17,000 votes in one of Malaysian election's hottest contests.

The win against Mr Abdul Ghani Othman is seen as a huge symbolic victory for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and a personal one 72-year-old Mr Lim who had announced in recent days that he would end his almost five-decade long political career if he lost here.

For Mr Ghani, 66, the outcome marks the likely end to a storied 18-year career as menteri besar during which he oversaw the development of the Iskandar region, a major dynamo of growth for southern Johor.

The victory by Mr Lim comes amid efforts by government leaders to depict the battle as one that would show whether voters in the hot seat reject the "Johor way" of moderation against the opposition's message of change.

Mr Lim's rallies in the constituency, which is 52 per cent Chinese and 34 per cent Malay, have drawn record crowds in recent weeks.

But Mr Ghani had also asked voters to judge him on his record of 18 years in governing the state and spearheading the most vibrant growth area on the peninsula.