Will there be a pro-Barisan Chinese tsunami in the next election?

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Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah thinks it is highly possible that Kedah will see a pro-Barisan government Chinese tsunami. If a Chinese political tsunami occurred in Kedah, it would mean the Chinese have lost confidence in the opposition’s move of changing the Government. If Kedah MCA and Gerakan could win in opposition-held constituencies, it would mean Chinese voters are returning to Barisan. However, whether there would be a pro-Barisan Chinese political tsunami would heavily depend on how much the Chinese feel that the Government is sincere in solving Chinese issues.

Kedah under the leadership of Ahmad Bashah has been quite close to the Chinese, especially in making regular allocations to Chinese primary and secondary schools. It can be said that Kedah is one of the state governments which have been taking measures beneficial to Chinese schools, besides Penang, Johor and Sarawak.

Ahmad Bashah’s friendly image to the Chinese has gone deep in the Chinese community which makes the Chinese feel that the Government headed by him is not radical but Chinese-friendly. MCA and Gerakan may be able to win in Alor Setar parliamentary constituency and the Derga seat because they lost narrowly in the last election. The opposition won by 1,156 majority votes in Derga and 1,873 in Alor Setar.

In the last election, the PAS state government has come out with many Islamization policies which upset the Chinese. But a Barisan victory is possible because of the decisive Chinese votes.

People have become unhappy with the opposition as they do not have the resources to play their role in full and thus, may turn around to support Barisan. There are strong possibility of seeing more three-cornered fights in Kedah in the next election. PAS will not want opposition party to fight against Barisan on a one-to-one basis. This would increase Barisan’s winning chances. Therefore, it is highly credible in Kedah Menteri Besar’s belief of a “Chinese political tsunami”.

However, will the Kedah Chinese tsunami spread nationwide? It is quite possible if Barisan can come out with Chinese-friendly policies and solve the root cause of their problems to make them feel that the Government is sincere in solving their economic and education issues.

The split of opposition parties has made the Chinese feel that they had not been rational in supporting an unstable political front. There may be a Chinese political tsunami nationwide but it would not happen in Penang because no anti-Lim Guan Eng sentiment among the voters has been detected in that state.

As for Selangor, it would depend on the level of PAS influence. If PAS was unable to shake the opposition alliance, it would be difficult to see a Chinese tsunami toppling the Blue Eye government.

In fact, Barisan leader Datuk Seri Najib has been friendly with the Chinese. However, because of 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion scandal, Barisan has not been able to win the trust of the Chinese as for now. While the Malays do not take this issue seriously, the Chinese believe that Barisan should be cleaner and more transparent in running the government.

Therefore, in order to make a breakthrough, the Government must undertake more Chinese-friendly policy measures. Barisan can come out with a heavy dose by recognizing UEC and make allocations to Chinese independent schools to show its sincerity in helping Chinese education.

Allocations to Chinese independent schools can be done through state government like what has been done by the Kedah and Sarawak state governments. This would promote interactions between the Government and the Chinese voters.

In the economic sector, the Government can build up a Chinese-friendly image by having regular exchanges with Chinese corporate leaders and offering incentives as an encouragement to Chinese businessmen.

The close rapport between the Government and China investors as well as opportunities made available for local participants of some of their projects will win the support of local businessmen. When local businessmen are facing difficulties in dealing with GST, Barisan component parties should help them to solve the problems as part of their responsibility. When young house buyers feel the pressure, the Government offers them help. For example, first-time buyers are given RM30, 000 rebate in buying government affordable housing units.

It is not difficult for the Chinese to support Barisan and it is not something impossible to raise a Chinese political tsunami. Barisan leaders only need to give the Chinese a good feeling, they would turn impulsive in giving their support to Barisan. Only if Barisan can win 20 to 30 percent more votes in many constituencies, the opposition will be defeated.

The deputy prime minister put the blame on Chinese parties in Barisan for not doing enough. It is better to come out with more Chinese-friendly policies in order to help MCA, Gerakan and SUPP to win more Chinese support.