Why the electoral arithmetic in Malaysia does not allow the Chinese voters to be “kingmakers” in 13GE

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad seems to have reverted to his early years in politics when, to use his own words, he was fighting for the Malay cause per se when he was young and his thoughts were that of an inexperienced politician.

Mahathir made this open admission in a dialogue with the Malaysian Student Executive Council of the United Kingdom in September 1995, when making the case for a Malaysian rather than a Malay approach, arguing that to realize the goal of Bangsa Malaysia, Malaysians should start accepting each other as they are regardless of race or religion.

This was the fourth year of his promulgation of Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia in February 1991.

Now Mahathir seemed to have gone full circle, repudiating not only Bangsa Malaysia and Vision 2020, but fighting only for Malay rather than Malaysian cause.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak called on Barisan Nasional members not to make statements that will hurt the feelings of other races or BN component parties.

But how many in UMNO will listen to Najib?

Mahathir is in the forefront among those who have been making irresponsible, insensitive and even provocative statements – all to save UMNO and Barisan Nasional from being defeated in the next general election.

Who believes that Najib could caution or check Mahathir?

Only on Thursday, Mahahir made the highly mischievous statement that the Chinese voters are the kingmakers for the 13th general election as the Malays are divided among three “small” parties and that the Chinese voters will decide who forms the government after the general election.

I had rebutted this statement, stating that the Malaysian Chinese are not and do not want to be the “kingmakers” in the 13 general election.

I also pointed out that “the harsh reality is that the electoral arithmetic does not allow the Chinese voters to be the ‘kingmakers’”.

Let us look at the “electoral arithmetic” in Malaysia to understand why the Chinese voters cannot be the “kingmakers” in the 13th general election.

There are only 34 parliamentary seats out of 222 where the Chinese comprise a majority of voters. Even if Pakatan Rakyat (PR) wins all of the Chinese votes in these seats, it will only yield 15% of total parliamentary seats.

There are another 55 parliamentary seats where Chinese voters constitute between 30% to 50% of the voters. Even if PR is able to win 80% of Chinese votes in these seats, it would still need between 35% to 40% of support from the other communities in order to win these seats.

In total, this means that there are only 89 parliamentary seats where the Chinese comprise more than 30% of total voters. Even if PR is to win all these seats, this would only constitute 40% of total parliamentary seats, which is not enough for a majority of parliamentary seats.

Instead, what we are increasingly seeing is the rejection of the Barisan Nasional (BN) by voters of all races, including in many Malay majority as well as ethnically ‘mixed’ seats which were previously ‘impregnable’ BN strongholds.

For example, in the 2008 general election, a majority of Malay and non-Malay voters voted against the BN in Malay majority seats such as Pokok Sena and Kuala Kedah in Kedah, Parit Buntar and Bagan Serai in Perak, Shah Alam and Kota Raja in Selangor and Titiwangsa in Kuala Lumpur.

A majority of Malay and non-Malay voters also voted against the BN in ethnically mixed seats such as Padang Serai in Kedah, Bayan Baru and Nibong Tebal in Penang and Bandar Tun Razak in Wilayah Persekutuan.

More recently, in the 2011 Sarawak state elections, a majority of both Chinese and non-Chinese voters in the state seat of Kidurong voted against the BN leading to a historic 7,000-vote majority for the DAP’s incumbent candidate Chew Chin Sing.

By playing up racial fears, Mahathir is resorting to an old and outdated form of fear-mongering and politicking which is becoming irrelevant for Malaysians all over the country who are sick and tired of the corruption, cronyism and abuses of power of the Barisan Nasional government.

The next general election is a historic opportunity for all Malaysians to unite to send a clear message that they want to end the 54 years of misrule by the BN and put in place a new Pakatan Rakyat government which will protect the rights, freedom and welfare of all Malaysians, regardless of whether they are Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans or Kazadans.

The real kingmakers in the 13th general election, therefore, are not the Chinese voters but all Malaysian voters, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans to unite and bring about a peaceful transition of federal power for the first time in the 54-year history of the nation to end corruption, cronyism and abuses of power.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Saturday, 30 June 2012 - 6:27 pm

    ///Who believes that Najib could caution or check Mahathir?///

    Najib will face the same fate as Tun Abdullah Badawi if he (Najib) touches the UNTOUCHABLE!

  2. #2 by Loh on Saturday, 30 June 2012 - 6:35 pm

    Mamakthir said that people are not excited of 1Malaysia. Mamakthir is happy that Malays still prefer the divide and rule and with Ketuanan Melayu preserving the right of a few constitutional Malays to enjoy wealth so that Malays can be proud of them. As regards non-Malays, they cannot be excited since Najib did not tell Mamakthir off, like AAB did to him, when Mamakthir questioned 1Malaysia. Worse Mamakthir became the patron of Perkasa which should have otherwise been charged for sedition.

    Najib is unable to make Mamakthir answer to the law of the country. By saying that it was a privilege for Chinese and other non-Malays to preserve their racial image, or identity, Mamakthir said that it was the grace of the majority race in the country to withhold ethnic cleansing. That is the statement calculated to create hatred of Malays against non-Malays.

    Mamakthir said that the Chinese educationalists are obstacles to forging racial unity in the country. Nobody understands what racial unity meant, as unity in the country involved nationals irrespective of race. Clearly by introducing the adjective racial to describe unity, Mamakthir implied that people of different races in the country are not equal. That is against the constitution.

    The Suqiu group was naive to have been made a fool by Mamakthir in the 1999 election. AhJibKor might appear to be what Mamakthir was when he pretended to appreciate the stand taken by Suqiu, had Suqiu group insisted that Mamakthir should go then, he would be in jail now. Giving Najib a chance now is repeating a mistake in voting for Mamakthir. Mamakthir thought that he would win more Malay votes than losing Chinese votes who were too afraid to take risk, except on gambling tables. Let us prove Mamakthir wrong.

    It is a fact that Malays are split three ways. There are ambitious Malay leaders and not all of them are in one party. Chinese are not kingmakers in determining which parties would win. Chinese vote with Malays who want politicians to serve like as they should do like their counterparts in other countries which practice true democracy. It is a pity that Chinese population has dwindled so that they might not be able to help the enlightened Malays to help throw Mamakthir into the heap of history, or put in jail.

  3. #3 by Dap man on Saturday, 30 June 2012 - 6:36 pm

    Mahathir is having nightmares every night that he would spend his last few years in Sungai Buloh.
    But then, he might get a heart attack when the results are being announced on that fateful night.

  4. #4 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 30 June 2012 - 8:22 pm

    Mahathir think he is Cao Cao but Cao Cao is smart enough to avoid taking on too enemies at the same time. He think so long as he says there is only one enemy – the Chinese, ALL his other enemies or their troops will see it the same way. Cao Cao was never that arrogant to believe that.

    In reality Mahathir is like Dong Zhou – surrounded by enemies all over. Sure there are many of those that are Yuan Shaos and Yuan Shus around but they all still know better than forget their enemy common enemy is just one..

  5. #5 by monsterball on Saturday, 30 June 2012 - 10:16 pm

    Mahathir thinks he is Cao Cao?……hahahahahahaha
    I think he thinks he is Tarzan….yell and all the monkies listen to him.
    I think he thinks he is the Lord of the Jungle.

  6. #6 by monsterball on Saturday, 30 June 2012 - 10:29 pm

    The biggest rouge who has an International hard cover book written by Barry Wain saying he stole more than RM100 billion inn 22 years….and he dare not sue.
    He shamed Malaysians for allowing a nobody foreigner talk about our ex PM like that.
    The matter of the fact is..Barry is right…and Mahathir exposed…stealing from all Malaysians.
    He has made so many half past sixes Muslims and quite alot of cunning crooks hero-worshiping him.
    That’s his only security blanket he contributed to his band of robbers and thieves.
    Young Malaysians 10 times more than idiots and crooks.
    And so…he keep on twisting..

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 30 June 2012 - 11:28 pm

    Tun Dr Mahathir’s statements of late have included:-

    • Malaysians “not excited over PM’s 1Malaysia concept. They are still talking about race, rights and privileges. He added, “You must remember privileges are not only Malays or bumiputera, the non-Malays are also privileged because only in this country are they allowed to have their language, culture and school system (ie identify themselves in their country of origin);

    • People are therefore more racists. And who causes that? He blames rising racial polarization in the country on the Chinese educationists and opposition. Chinese educationists object to their children to go near Malay children; this is the effect of opposition. If that is not racist, what is?”

    • Malay votes are divided between 3 Malay based parties: therefore Chinese voters are king makers for they decide the polls on who ultimately wins in 13th GE .

    His combined statements so far are to pooh pooh inclusive talk of 1Malaysia (an indirect swipe at PM’s platform) and to engage in subtle scare-mongering of Malays to be wary of the other races especially the Chinese. He is not interested in electoral arithmetic and fine arguments pointing the fallacies and one sidedness of his viewpoints. Whatever he says is calculated to hit at the heart and not the mind/brain.

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 1 July 2012 - 12:15 am

    He’s the real kingmaker (since) he took on Tunku and got Tun Razak to take over after May 13 1969 and after that longest serving PM of 22 yrs from 1981 to 2003 and thereafter king maker once again until now. He is probably fed up with his anointed successors. They are bungling and not doing it right to preserve his legacy around which the ruling party was constructed. His voice is more strident today in part due to his rising concerns of the possibility that UMNO may unexpectedly lose under his successors’ ineffectual leadership to dominate as he did. So he has to come out from the shadows and take on the campaign more directly. This he falls back on the traditional racist approach he knows best that has worked in the past – to leverage majority race’s sense of insecurity vis-à-vis non Malays esp the Chinese. The PM’s weak statement that we should not say things to hurt others sounds so mild that it represents ceding the stage to him. Long ago it was ceded already to Perkasa which enjoys his patronage. The fact that only a Chinese Opposition leader engages against his rhetoric suits his purposes to pain controversy along racial axis. He is more afraid no one engages and his views, intended to be controversial for effect, are not controversial enough to be disseminated. Rebuttals from someone of Kit’s stature is surely something he welcomes as it fits his plans for disseminating his views.

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 1 July 2012 - 12:17 am

    Ooops- “…to painT controversy along racial axis…”

  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 1 July 2012 - 1:15 am

    In harping on Chinese king making potential isn’t he downplaying with condescension kingmaking roles of Sabahans & Sarawakians whose fixed deposits have buffered the Incumbent against the political tsunami of 308? Why is it assumed that no matter how heightened the race rhetoric over here in Semenanjung, the ruling coalition’s flanks in East Malaysia are always secure/protected; and that such rhetoric since 2008 will never generate a surge of waves, albeit belated for 4 years, to hit East Malaysian shores by GE13 in alteration of the overall combined electoral arithmetic of the next GE???

  11. #11 by sotong on Sunday, 1 July 2012 - 3:07 pm

    The real Kingmakers are the Mamak/New Malay.

    Being Muslim, for decades, they are preferred for senior jobs in the government with position of power, trust and influence .

    They are a very small minority but a strong Powerbrokers to be Kingmakers.

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