The lower middle income people are complaining bitterly over the increasing cost of living due to rising prices and low income. Even general traders and manufacturers have been under pressure as the Inland Revenue Board officers are going direct to offices and factory sites, making detailed checking on tax matters. Many operators have been accused of tax evasion and have to make fresh income return again, making the submission of all previous tax returns a waste of time. There is widespread grouses in the market place; some have closed down their operations because they are unable to take the pressure.
Even petty traders and hawkers cannot escape the surprise checks by tax collectors, causing great anxiety among those in small business and also poor market sentiment. Instead of finding effective ways to manage the finances, the Government has come down hard on all levels of Chinese businessmen by using the IRB. There is rising anti-government sentiment in the market and it is extremely unfavorable to Barisan Nasional if there was an election now.
As speculation is strong that the date of general election is near, intelligence reports collected by Barisan have not been favorable to the alliance. Even if Barisan is able to retain the central government, the election result would not be impressive. They may not be able to get back the controlling two-third majority in parliament.
Welfare of Chinese community has been neglected
As of now, we may see a thriving market place with big crowds and traffic jams but this is only superficial. In reality, the ordinary people are suffering from high prices and low income and have been working hard to make a living.
As such, in discussions of the voting trend of the 14th general election, people in the political arena indicate that ordinary voters have made their choice even without Pakatan’s propaganda. When life becomes harder, Barisan would suffer. Political analysts also said anti-establishment sentiment in the Chinese community is still strong, due mainly to plunging business. Operators are groaning under the pressure of rising cost and falling revenue.
In these difficult times, Felda settlers got the special aid of RM5,000 per household, rubber small holders and army personnel also received living allowances to help them to tide over the difficult period. However, the welfare of the Chinese community has continued to be neglected, especially the large number of struggling farmers and petty traders, even small manufacturers. They receive no special aid from the Government.
As Barisan failed to implement policy fair to all races, majority of the Chinese voters have become extremely disappointed and would thus cast their votes to the opposition parties.
Non-supporters are said to be ungrateful
Barisan has all along stressed that economic transformation would raise people’s income, which includes with more Malaysia-China investment projects to improve the economy for the benefit of the people. However, our economic condition remains poor and basic welfare of the Chinese community had been neglected. If their welfare continued to be neglected, for instance, they were not given aid and allowances like those given to Malay Felda settlers, they would swing to Pakatan which, together with a shift of 10 to 20 percent Malay votes from Barisan to Pakatan, Pakatan would stand a chance of changing the government.
Barisan leaders have been appealing for support from the Chinese community. UMNO senior officials have also been urging the Chinese to support Barisan candidates, even to the extent of accusing urban dwellers of being ungrateful for supporting the Opposition. But in actual fact, the Barisan government has not done much to help the Chinese who have to fend for themselves in order to go up or gain a foot-hold.
According to reports, anti-government sentiment among Chinese in urban areas is even stronger in the coming election, especially manufacturers, traders and hawkers who are suffering the worst situation since 2000. The Chinese have not received the same treatment like those poor Felda families in getting the RM5000 special aid.
On the contrary, while the Chinese are in their deep suffering, the Government has sent out large number of tax officers to check on the income of SMEs which are largely Chinese family businesses, petty traders and hawkers. This is like forcing them to a dead end.
Policies should be fair to all
Malaysia has been independent for 60 years. People of different races are living under the same roof but with different fates. In the eyes of UMNO which is in control of all government resources, there is only the Malay community. They get all the aid to tide over difficult times. The Chinese cannot be blamed for being resentful and thus, the strong anti-government sentiment! For Barisan, especially MCA, Gerakan and SUPP, chances of making a comeback are still far off.
Sources from the general public say that Pakatan Harapan under the leadership of Mahathir would continue to attack the 1MDB debts issue and the FELDA scandals, which involve UMNO heavily, in order to win the support of rural Malays, including some UMNO members. This may stir up resonance from the Malay society.
However, the majority of Chinese voters would want a stable and orderly society and a fair and equal policy. It is unfortunate that policy deviations have become even more obvious which sort of compound the hardship felt by Chinese families.
When Chinese feels the burden is getting heavier by the day, they become even more disappointed with the Barisan Government. This, then, is the main reason why the anti-government sentiment continues to fester in the Chinese society.