(KUALA LUMPUR, 12 Apr) What do Chinese want? Answer is: good economy!
During the last General Election, Chinese was reprimanded: “What else do you want?” In this coming General Election, Chinese tell both the political divide that they are still looking forward to a good national economy. When economy is good, one has no problem and pressure on living costs is instantly reduced!
Based on observation by China Press and also interviews conducted with people on the street, generally the Chinese are most concerned with issues in national economy, macro-economy, business environment, living expenses and public policies. Hence the promises and result achieved by two political divide in these sectors would affect their choice for vote.
Chinese education and Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) issues played up by both the ruling parties and the opposition during election campaign would not cause much impact. Other hard issues such as judiciary, corruption and equal rights are not the top concern of majority of Chinese.
The 13th General Election in 2013 was described as Chinese tsunami. After the re-delineation exercise, Pakatan Harapan has hoped for Malay tsunami during the 14th General Election. However, for any kind of tsunami to take place, it requires a powerful ‘common source’ for it to take place. Voters of different levels in society, of different ethnic groups and different areas would have different requests. Generally, economic issues remain as priority in Chinese community.
GST causes impact in living costs
In the past few years, due to slowdown in economy, depreciation in ringgit and inflation, the Barisan Nasional government has launched various people-friendly measures including the 1Malaysia cash aid, 1Malaysia homes, affordable homes, 1Malaysia education aid while civil servants, Felda settlers and farmers are given special allowances. But to the Chinese who value quality of life and earning power, these policies are trivial in benefits where the Chinese do not gain much.
As economic issues related to daily lives remain pending while Chinese do not really benefit from those people-friendly measures; where BN and Pakatan Harapan are fighting endlessly; Chinese are uncertain about the future of the country. These are the factors that would decide which where their votes would go to. Chances of Chinese change their thinking due to sweet talk during election campaign is not high.
The Malay community and Malay voters place more emphasis on impact of GST on daily lives, especially the Malay rural folks. Stable life is their priority. The cash aid and allowance allocated by the government directly benefitted the rural folks and Felda settlers, which helped them to offset the impact. These would also be the key factors in their choice of vote.
Malays have subtly changed
Malay voters have subtly changed. Even without a Malay tsunami, the performance of BN in Malay area would also be affected.
Political commentator Cheah See Kin has described that if Pakatan were successful in creating a Malay tsunami, the outcome of 14th General Election would be ‘beyond salvage’ like the political tsunami which occurred in 12th General Election.
He said the political tsunami saw several state changed hands in 2008. This has let the Malay voters in other states realised that the one vote in their hand could change power, especially the Malay voters in southern part of Peninsula Malaysia.
“During the 2008 General Election, the Malay voters in Johor did not heed the call of changing government. In 2013 they started to do so and in 2018 they were totally changed. That is why DAP has placed its focus in Johor.”
Cheah said BN is aware that Chinese votes would not return. Hence during the re-delineation exercise, they have placed the Chinese votes in seats held by the opposition. By concentrating the Malay votes, this helps to increase the winning chance of Umno.
“By placing Chinese in seats held by the opposition, this would not help the opposition to win more seats. Hence, the opposition can only maintain the number of seats it has won during the 13th General Election.”