Did Umno really scare up strong Malay support? Not quite, shows study

The Malaysian Insider
August 13, 2013

Umno’s election strategy of ratcheting up fear among Malays over the loss of political power actually yielded only a slight increase in Malay support in the past general election.

In contrast, right-wing rhetoric, unresolved issues of race and religion as well as the belief that Pakatan Rakyat should be given a shot at running the country saw a 20% swing of Chinese voters and 5% swing of Indian voters away from Barisan Nasional, compared with 2008.

In fact, what really did help Umno tap the rural vote was its strong political machinery there as well as the villagers’ continued dependence on government aid and services. Cash handouts under BR1M also played a part.

These facts were revealed by a Merdeka Center study of voting patterns in the past election. To determine the voting pattern by ethnicity, the independent pollster analysed 9,000 polling districts.

The study isolated polling districts with over 90% of a particular community and then compiled the lists according to the state and rural areas versus an urban setting.

Merdeka Center said that while this method does not take into account the interplay between ethnic groups in mixed seats, it still gives what is the closest reliable estimate.The increase in Malay votes helped Barisan Nasional in capturing more Parliament and state seats in rural areas. TMI pic, August 13, 2013.

The increase in Malay votes helped Barisan Nasional in capturing more Parliament and state seats in rural areas. TMI pic, August 13, 2013.

Umno/Barisan Nasional obtained 61.6% of the Malay vote, a 1.5% aggregated increase over the 2008 vote share. Its biggest gains of Malay voters was in Kedah, up by 5.6%, and Kuala Lumpur, up by 6.4%.

Malay support for Umno/BN dropped noticeably in Perlis, down by 3.1% and Terengganu, down by 3.6% – the two states where the infighting among warring Umno factions was most severe.

The study also confirmed the urban-rural divide, with Malay support for Umno/BN rising in rural areas and dropping in the urban ones.

This year, there were 119 Malay districts, and of these only 20 were considered urban. BN swept 78 out of the 99 rural Malay seats but only five of the urban Malay seats. – August 13, 2013.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 - 7:28 am

    ///Umno/Barisan Nasional obtained 61.6% of the Malay vote, a 1.5% aggregated increase over the 2008 vote share.///

    The insignificant 1.5% increase points to the fact that Malaysians (irrespective of race) are generally more politically mature these days under the influence of the Internet. I believe many of them (esp. young people) would surf the Internet to get a more balanced view of the political parties before they cast their votes.

  2. #2 by Winston on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 - 9:48 am

    Shenanigans of UMNO/BN and everything else aside, the most important thing now is for the opposition is to neutralise their rural votes and that of the civil servants and armed forces.
    For rural East Malaysia, have well trained and dedicated cadres to highlight the unfairness of the treatment, especially those pertaining to native land cases, and the sidelining of the natives in their own land.
    With so many such cases, there should be no lack of examples.
    Better still have recorded video statements by those affected to highlight such incidences.
    As for the civil servants and armed forces, highlighting the high National Debt and the high risks of national bankruptcy, and the consequences they faced in such an eventuality, can have the desired effect.
    If the opposition keeps plugging away at such matters as well as other matters like the continuing depletion of the national wealth in spite of the fact that we are a natural resource rich country, the desired effect can come about.
    There is a treasure trove of such malfeasance to delight any propagandist!!

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 - 12:21 pm

    The truth is if not for taking PAS for granted, Najib would not have been able to claim he won more Malay seats for UMNO and would have had to resign. .Kedah being Mahathir’s stronghold and self-inflicted problems in Kuala Lumpur, PR took PAS problems and Nik Aziz absent on the campaign trail for granted.

    UMNO cheated yes, but PR messed up too. UMNO strategy did not really work but the bad news is that PR could still keep messing up again and again like these..

  4. #4 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 - 2:58 pm

    Check out UMCEDEL latest conclusion. PR really got 53% of the vote. THIS is the more accurate count than the official vote due to fraud etc..From the start, the severest critics had said due to gerry meandering and fraud, PR needed 55% of the vote or it won’t win..

    But now we know, PR was close but not close enough..

  5. #5 by tuahpekkong on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 - 10:40 pm

    Creating fear among the Malays over possible loss of political power, distributing hand-out, paying more bonuses to Government servants and other promises only appeal to a section of the electorate. A clean, efficient, accountable and responsible Government would appeal to all the electorate. Who believes that UMNO leaders do not know these basic prerequisites for victory in an election? It is solely because the BN have so many shortcomings that they have to resort to such tactics.

  6. #6 by black dog on Thursday, 15 August 2013 - 3:49 pm

    Sigh….Money politic is a double edge sword. Once you have money, you have friend, you have supporter. When the tap start running dry, you will see the “friend” becomes angry fiend. There will be a budget revised on October where most subsidies like petrol and TNB will be scaling back. There will be other “re-adjustment” later. We will see a lot of suffering and a lot of angry fiend…

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