Lessons from the Chinese vote in Sungai Limau

November 06, 2013

One of the takeaways from the Sungai Limau by-election on Monday was that some of the Chinese votes went back to Barisan Nasional (BN) although it was not enough to capture the state seat.

Politicians and analysts also noted that most of the Chinese stayed away from the by-election, presumably because most did not return for the Monday vote as it would not affect the state or federal administration.

For the record, PAS’s Mohd Azam Abdul Samat polled 12,069 votes to BN’s Dr Ahmad Sohaimi Lazim who got 10,985. There were 27,222 registered voters but turnout was only 85.5%.

For BN, the slight increase in Chinese votes is a lifeline for parties like MCA and Gerakan which descended to the state seat to prove their vigour after the major setback of Election 2013.

The Chinese electorate totalled 1,836 but very few turned out to vote despite the RM2.25 million allocated by BN to Chinese schools in the area. Ahmad Sohaimi lamented he only received some 600 votes from the Chinese.

But it also suggested that the anger and angst non-Malay voters in Kedah had against the one-term Azizan (PAS) administration is still alive – perhaps similar to the PAS-led Terengganu state government in 1999.

It also suggests that while the PAS alliance with DAP and PKR is working at the federal level, there is much to be done within the party in how it treats non-Muslims in states where it runs the administration.

In Kedah especially, PAS under new state commissioner Datuk Mahfuz Omar has much work to do to win back a better level of support from the Chinese community, seen as a kingmaker in the fight with Umno.

And a sure way to do so is by understanding and appreciating that banning this and that does not work in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like Malaysia. Protecting the majority also means protecting the minority.

Malaysians want good governance, sound economic policies and leaders with principles, not those who pander to the narrow view of the few that restrictions and bans are what governments do all the time.

Who ever votes for a nanny state in a democracy?

PAS does not have to look far if it wants to ever run a state in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. All it has to do is look at Selangor and Penang where it won big in the May 5 general election.

Neither of these two west coast states had mumbo-jumbo stuff such as closing down cinemas or any other restrictions on businesses.

Both states kept their PR governments in Election 2013. There are lessons to be drawn from how these two state governments kept their mandate. Mahfuz and his party colleagues must remember that if they wish to recapture Kedah.

Otherwise, the BN formula will prove resilient and keep power, just because the opposition pact does not understand Malaysia as well as BN does. – November 6, 2013.

  1. #1 by Winston on Wednesday, 6 November 2013 - 9:18 pm

    Whoever wants to form the federal government must take the interests of ALL Malaysians into account.
    Whether the majorities or the minorities.
    A very good lesson can be drawn from Egypt.
    The Morsi government, instead of catering for all Egyptians, instead only concentrated on the Muslim Brotherhood.
    Minorities interests were to a large extent shunted aside.
    The chance for a truly demorcratic Egypt was thrown away almost immediately.
    In its place is turmoil which plagued the country until now.
    This should be an object lesson to all who wants to govern a country, especially a multi-cultural and multi-religious one.

  2. #2 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 6 November 2013 - 9:57 pm

    PAS shouldn’t play along Bumno jenis unislamic game.Chinese couldn’t care less about or how Muslim practice their faith as long it doesn’t intrude the way of our livelihood.Respect one another way of life is nothing more the Chinese expect.

  3. #3 by Di Shi Jiu on Wednesday, 6 November 2013 - 10:46 pm

    A hardline fundamentalist PAS will scare many Malaysians off.

    In GE13, I voted PAS for Parliament but my sister voted BN.

    The weird thing was that she happily voted DAP for state!

    There was nothing I could say which would convince her to vote PAS for parliament. Her main concern was that she did not trust PAS and was afraid of their hardline fundamentalism.

    I believe there are many other Malaysians, be they Malays, Chinese or Indians, who dislike the hardline fundamentalism shown by some PAS leaders.

  4. #4 by Noble House on Thursday, 7 November 2013 - 3:10 am

    A good synopsis.

    Politicians must realize that politics and religion do not mix – just like oil and water. Pakatan and PAS, in particular, should look into their internal problems and work to resolve their differences. This is for the common good of the Rakyat who envision the hopes of good governance which can bring about the changes necessary to move this country forward. You cannot win this war by playing into UMNO’s outdated game of “3 in 1” recipe.

    The future of PAS lies in the hands of their progressive democrats.

  5. #5 by undertaker888 on Thursday, 7 November 2013 - 8:08 am

    PAS, while in office, should take care of secular things. For those things that they need to shore up for afterlife, well you can separate it from government. Look at the middle east. Are they in a mess or the people is having a good life?

    Don’t be like the Pharisees and Sadducees. In the end A11ah rejected those zealots too because of their stubbornness.

  6. #6 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 7 November 2013 - 7:42 pm

    The first rule of not looking like you are losing is to not look desperate. MCA/Gerakan/BN are grabbing at straws for any significance of the Chinese vote count difference.

    Being desperate, is NOT trying hard. Its just being a loser..

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