Will the Chinese Vote Swing Epidemic Spread Across the Nation?

By Dajmarizal Zolkipli
Malaysian Digest

After Malaysians were struck by the Bieber ‘fever’ in recent weeks, Malaysian politics are now rocked with an epidemic of a different sort: the Chinese vote swing fever. This latest vote trend was evident in the recent Sarawak state election result. However, the Chinese vote swing may well have started when Gerakan was rejected by the Penangites in 2008 general ‘tsunami’ election when DAP took over the state – an apparent validation that the majority-Chinese (43.6 percent) population there favored the Opposition. In Penang, Malays make up 40 percent of its population while 9.9 percent are Indians.

DAP’s commendable performance – snatching 12 out of 15 seats they contested – in the 10th Sarawak state election proves that they are the dominant opposition party in Sarawak. Analysts suggest a certain kind of resurrection of Chinese protest votes taking place in the April 16 state election.

Post-Sarawak Election

Barisan Nasional (BN), Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu Sarawak (PBB) in particular, did well to retain its two-third majority. Taib Mahmud’s party, as always, did an impeccable job at toeing BN’s line by maintaining their 100 percent record. However, the same can’t be said about its ally Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP). And boy, what an upset it was. The party’s president George Chan himself, a veteran politician, lost to a 28-year-old DAP newcomer.

When the focus returned to the Peninsular, a lot of hype was on the Chinese vote swing and, in the BN camp, they were trying to figure out – how was it possible for DAP to have such big of an influence over the Sarawakian Chinese? So the pressure is on MCA and Gerakan to contain this epidemic and things are looking desperate for these two Chinese-majority parties. With the first post-tsunami general election nearing it’s really a matter of now or never.

It didn’t take long for MCA to launch their attacks on DAP. First, they accused DAP of endorsing a racial election campaign and even Utusan Malaysia joined in by publishing pieces lambasting DAP’s allegedly racist campaign. Within a few days the Malay daily called for a short-sighted movement they call ‘1Melayu, 1Bumi’. Perkasa was also quick to endorse Utusan’s call to no one’s surprise. From then on other mainstream media began running articles on racial tensions and the potential of conflicts escalating into the streets.

MCA Invites DAP to Boycott Utusan

There’s no denying that DAP’s impressive performance in Sarawak has made a huge impact on the political scenario. The obvious vote swing is a cause for alarm to BN. They are worried about Sarawak’s neighbor, Sabah, as the ‘epidemic’ may have already made its way there. The mainstream media played their parts as political tools with Utusan’s timely call for ‘1Melayu, 1Bumi’ and its echoing of Chua’s accusation of DAP running a racist election campaign in Sarawak. It’s as if Utusan itself have not been practicing such political juggernaut.

The whole absurdity continued with MCA chief Chua publicly objecting against the ‘1Melayu, 1Bumi’ campaign and called for the boycotting of Utusan. DAP was also invited to protest against Utusan but refused to take part as they believe that Chua and Utusan were orchestrating the issue to trap the party. In press conference, Lim Guan Eng said that DAP would not allow themselves to fall for the double-dealing ploy.

“Why should we fall into their trap yet again? Now when they are in crisis with Umno, all the suggestion for DAP to work hand in hand with MCA arise, but what will happen when they are again to be okay together?” said Lim Guan Eng.

“We are still fresh from the 1987 incidents (Operasi Lalang),” he added.

Surprising Factor Behind DAP’s Success

A few weeks back, DAP publicized its own analysis of their performance in the Sarawak polls. Its secretary-general, Lim Guan Eng said their analysis revealed that 30 percent of their voters were non-Chinese. According to him, their 30 percent non-Chinese supporters is higher than what MCA and Gerakan had garnered in many parts of the Peninsular during the 2008 general election.

“This proves that DAP has more credibility in the eyes of many non-Chinese voters in Sarawak when compared to the credibility of MCA and Gerakan in the eyes of Chinese voters in Peninsular Malaysia,” Lim claimed.

DAP’s analysis shows that, contrary to popular belief, their success came from their outstanding non-Chinese support that surpassed their own expectation.

While many believe it was DAP’s alleged racial campaign which proved to be the main basis for their big gain in Sarawak, the party claim three major factors that sees the vote went their way proficiently.

“The people of Sarawak are just getting ‘sick of the state administration’, ‘ongoing corruption’ and the ‘Sarawakians are keen for a change’,” said Guan Eng when highlighting their foundation of success in the Sarawak polls.

That Critical Chinese Votes

The Chinese population and their political views will always be in the interest of the Malays and other political players in this country. That is the reason why the DAP’s commendable results in Sarawak is such a big fuss. It is ultimately up to MCA and Gerakan to rectify the Chinese vote situation and to do this they themselves have to change. For one, leaders that pose liability to these two parties must go. They must not just talk about practicing clean politics but start walking the walk.

The results of the Sarawak election has given DAP a big boost of confidence in time for the 13th General Election. With DAP snatching away Chinese votes, Lim Kit Siang’s party has become a big threat to BN. The only way for MCA and Gerakan to recapture the hearts and minds of the Chinese voters is to rol up their sleeves and start working hard for their party, the people and their own sake by delivering their promises. Like Justin Bieber’s famous song, they must “Never Say Never…”

  1. #1 by drngsc on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 3:27 pm

    Hello my friend,

    Pride goes before a fall. We must all work harder for a better Malaysia. Yes, we need a change.

    Please swing the votes of all Malaysians, local and overseas. We need all the people to make a difference. There is much hard work ahead. The odds are against us.

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya.

  2. #2 by k1980 on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 3:48 pm

    Hello my friend drngsc,

    You have not taken into account the postal votes of Canland.

    Many an opposition candidate lost because of Canland’s selective use of its postal votes

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 4:11 pm

    Winning non-Chinese votes in Peninsula and even in Sabah is a whole different matter all together than in Sarawak. For Sabah, it all depends on who can win Putrajaya, they won’t lead the change unfortunately.

    For Peninsula, between the cheating and UMNO/BN negative politicking, a real breakthrough can only be had with sensational issues. UMNO/BN pushes political drug, PR only choice is political entertainment i.e., sensationalism. They need to push the issues sensationally – the corruption, the cheating, the depraved political machining, and personal conduct of the UMNO/BN leaders.

  4. #4 by hiro on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 5:14 pm

    I think everyone in Pakatan should stop speaking of Chinese swing as opposed to Urban swing to the opposition. Using BN fallacy that it is a Chinese swing simply gives free bullets to Perkasa/Pembela/Utusan/UMNO/MCA to paint DAP as a Chinese chauvinist party, and also allowing them to demonize the Chinese in which Christians are a significant sub-set (no doubt overlapping with Ibans etc..)

  5. #5 by on cheng on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 5:47 pm

    Yes, be colour blind, don’t say Chinese swing, just say urban voters swing, that make more sense,
    Never use the word Chinese, Indian or Malay (just say, urban, rural, suburban voters), be colour blind don’t follow UMNO way, that may be more acceptable to rural folks.

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 5:58 pm

    Alamak, swing NOT bcos of race or locality of voters
    Swing is bcos of INFORMED VOTERS realising they r d BOSSES being cheated by corrupt racist servants (UmnoB/BN) who pretended 2 b bosses
    Use all new communication systems n media 2 EDUCATE n INFORM all voters n M’sians
    Give them d FACTS ($$ siphoned off by UmnoB/BN) n convince them 2 use their VOTES 2 CHANGE n kick out UmnoB/BN

  7. #7 by on cheng on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 - 11:49 am

    Urban, rural, suburban voters= no good?
    Informed, uninformed voters, how?
    Educated, less educated voters, ?? or……
    Who want to be branded as uninformed, or less educated, or less smart? etc….but differentiate by race or religion is surely bad !

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