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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

GE13: Are Chinese Malaysians mostly rooting for the opposition?

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:59 PM PDT 

(Bernama) - Many have been quick to generalise that almost all Chinese voters in the country will root for opposition candidates. But an in-depth look into the issue indicates that this is not entirely the true picture. 

In the 2008 general election, BN lost its two-third majority in the Dewan Rakyat, and one of the main arguments for this was that a sizeable number of Chinese voters supported the opposition coalition of PKR-DAP-PAS.     

Political observers say this trend had started five years earlier in Kedah, Penang, Selangor and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and spread to Sarawak in the 2011 state election where BN lost 13 state seats, all Chinese-majority seats, to DAP.  
There are now arguments that this trend may even spread to Johor, so far the bastion of support for the BN, because urban Chinese have turned out in large numbers at opposition political gatherings. The DAP is making a major onslaught there this time.   
In view of these developments, many have been quick to generalise that almost all Chinese voters in the country will root for opposition candidates. But an in-depth look into the issue indicates that this is not entirely the true picture. 
Rita Sim, co-founder of the Centre for Strategic Engagement, said most urbanites – Chinese, Malays and Indians included – appeared to be yearning for change and tend to look at the Opposition.  
She discerned that even middle-class Malays in the urban areas have shifted their attention away from BN. 
In view of the trend towards change and perception held by most urban residents, Sim said, the Chinese, being mostly urbanites, had also been lumped as opposition sympathisers.  
Sim explained that the opposition parties were harping on issues that connected well with the urban voters. 
"There are also urban Chinese voters who support the BN. But, these people don't openly state their support," she said. 
Political observers say that not many have the gumption like actress Datuk Michelle Yeoh who had openly pledged her support for BN and even called on Malaysians to give caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak a strong mandate. 
Chinese support for BN still reasonable
Political party workers explained that three main factors could influence the decision of the voters. One is the type of constituency, whether urban, semi-urban or rural; the other is the ethnic composition of voters in the constituency; and the third, the choice of candidates.  
Political analysts say that Chinese support for BN is still at a reasonable level even though they only form between 20% and 30% of the voters in most constituencies, like Bagan Datoh, Sungai Siput, Sembrong and Tambun.  
"For example, in the predominantly Malay parliamentary constituency of Tambun located in Ipoh, a DAP stronghold, incumbent Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah is extremely popular with the Chinese voters," said a party insider.  
Another example is the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat where former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu enjoyed good support from the Chinese. 
Samy Vellu's defeat there in 2008 was due to the fact that he lost a quarter of the Malay votes and almost 70% of the Indian votes while the level of support from the Chinese voters remained almost the same as in 2004.  
Similarly, in the Kuala Terengganu by-election in early 2009, the first by-election after the political tsunami of 2008, Chinese voters support for BN increased although the party lost the parliamentary seat. 
"In Terengganu, we still rely on the strong Chinese support. We do have PKR and DAP contesting there but their effect (on the Chinese) is not that good. Our local support is still strong, (it is) different from some other states on the west coast, northern Peninsular Malaysia and in the Klang Valley," said state MCA chairman Datuk Toh Chin Yaw.  
Candidates' personal touch
He explained that the choice of candidates and their personal touch played a critical role in deciding the winner.  
Toh stressed that as such one could not simply generalise the so-called general sentiment said to be running through the Chinese community.  
Toh's reasoning may perhaps explain BN's ability to retain the Kampar parliamentary seat in Perak in 2008 despite the fact that 60% of the voters there were Chinese and there was strong sentiment against BN then.  
Kampar is located in the Kinta Valley, an area known as DAP's stronghold. But BN's candidate from MCA, Datuk Lee Chee Leong, managed to win with a majority of 2,697 votes even though 60% of the voters were Chinese. 
"He won mainly due to his personal touch and humble approach. He served the constituency well. That's why the voters still gave him their support," said MCA Youth deputy chief Datuk Mah Hang Soon, who was also the sole BN candidate from MCA to have won the state seat of Chenderiang in Perak in 2008.   
A mistaken notion that Chinese are mostly pro-opposition
MCA's strategist and Central Committee member Datuk Ti Lian Ker believes that the mistaken notion that the Chinese are mostly for the opposition is merely spread by the DAP to influence the Chinese voters.  
"Basically, they (DAP) talk about change in the hope to convince the Chinese voters that they can make a big difference with their votes when in fact the Malay and Indian votes are still with the BN.  
"In any democratic country, there is always a 20% to 30% of core voter support for either side. So, in this case, there is still a core of 20%-30% Chinese support from MCA members for the BN," he said. 
Ti therefore believed that the trick is to zero in on the estimated 30 plus to 40% of the undecided or "fence-sitters".  

With polling in the GE13 set for Sunday, the notion that the Chinese electorate is pro-opposition may prove to be not true at all.   

The Malaysian Election: A Tale of Two States

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:46 PM PDT 

(ABC) - Sabah and Sarawak are famous for rainforest retreats and the endangered orangutan, but they could also hold the key to power when Malaysians go to the polls on May 5.

Battleground Sarawak.

Malaysia's opposition party is hoping to tap into Indigenous voters in Sarawak to help jostle the ruling party out of power.

The states of Sabah and Sarawak were given more national seats than any other state when Malaysia became a federation in 1963 to entice the regions to join, and the states could decide the outcome of the election.

Dr Jenri Amir, from the University of Malaysia, says there are 31 seats up for grabs in Sarawak.

"It's very important for the Prime Minister (Najib Razak) to ensure they win more than 20 seats in Sarawak, to ensure they can win the Federal Government," he said.

The seats have traditionally fallen the way of the ruling coalition - Barisan Nasional.

The Indigenous vote

But the Opposition believes the Iban people - the famed former headhunters of Borneo - are an untapped reservoir of votes and could change that.

Opposition candidates have been campaigning hard for Iban votes and according to Dr Amir the Opposition may have an in.

In a traditional Iban village everyone lives under one roof in a longhouse, and there are over 5,000 of these longhouses across the state.

"I think the mother of all issues among the Iban voters is of course NCR land - Native Customary Rights land, whereby they apply for this land," he said.

"The government didn't give the title to this land, instead most of this land was given to proxy companies or companies related to the Chief Minister of Sarawak."

The Chief Minister is Taib Mahmud who belongs to the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and has held the position since 1981.

Video of relatives and business associates of the Chief Minister trying to arrange crooked land deals for their own financial gain has been made public.


Mr Mahmud denies any wrongdoing on his part.

"If they are trying to create something, find something more credible, they are trying to frame people like me with evidence that can be interpreted by anybody," he said.

Despite the denials, the scenario doesn't look good for the party.

But will it be enough to swing Iban voters?

Read more and watch the video at: 

Ink used on voter's index finger is NOT indelible

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:39 PM PDT 

(Malaysiakini) - Barely hours after 'indelible' ink was used for the first time in Malaysia, complaints have emerged that the ink is in fact removable.

This is contrary to the Election Commission's (EC) assurance that traces of the ink would last at least seven days on the finger after being painted on with a brush.

One soldier, who had marked his ballot in advance voting this morning, said he had removed most of the ink with water alone - just six hours later.

NONE"Only 30 percent is left, and I haven't even used soap yet. 

"The standard is like stamp (ink) pads, which is not very strong.

"On the nail, it is 100 percent gone. It is a little difficult to remove from the seams. 

"On the skin, I think it would be gone with rigorous washing with soap," the soldier, who did not wish to be named, said in a text-message.


PKR vice-president Tian Chua said some 20 security personnel had approached him to demonstrate how the ink could be "entirely" removed with hand sanitiser gel.

Read more at: 

Lahad Datu: Bukit Aman to interview Raja Petra over Sulu intrusion article

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:34 PM PDT 

(The Star) - Bukit Aman is not revealing where police would record the statement of Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin pertaining to an article on the Sulu intrusion in Lahad Datu.

"We cannot reveal which country we intend to interview him as it might jeopardize our investigations.

"We are recording his statement pertaining to individual or groups involved in the Lahad Datu intrusion," Federal CID director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin told The Star.

It is learnt that Raja Petra, now living in exile in the United Kingdom, had flown to another country. 

Pakatan gunning for 12 federal seats in Johor, says Kit Siang

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 02:58 PM PDT

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is targeting a win of 33 federal seats in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak, including 12 in the southern peninsula state, as the opposition pact seeks to unseat the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in Election 2013, Lim Kit Siang said today.

The DAP veteran highlighted a report by Chinese newspaper Nanyang Siang Pau today that quoted BN sources as saying that the ruling coalition would lose 10 federal seats in the key battleground state of Johor.

"That's why the battle of Gelang Patah is to make a breakthrough in Johor," Lim (picture), who is contesting the Gelang Patah parliamentary seat in Johor, told reporters at the DAP headquarters here today.

"We're aiming for at least 12 parliamentary seats in Johor and more than a one-third majority in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak that have a total of 83 parliamentary seats. Pakatan can win 33 parliamentary seats," he added.

Lim stressed that PR was aiming to win 125 out of 222 federal seats, with PKR having the most at 45 seats, and the DAP and PAS having 40 seats each.

"No one party will be dominant," he said.

BN, which has been in power since independence, faces its stiffest challenge from the opposition after winning Election 2008 with the slimmest margin in history.

PR is aiming to decimate the MCA in Johor, with Lim leading the charge against caretaker Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman in Gelang Patah.

Though PR is aiming to win more seats in east Malaysia, the numerous multi-cornered fights in Sabah are complicating its efforts to sweep more than the one federal seat in Sabah that it had won in Election 2008.



Catch him if you can: the mysterious escape of Malaysia's second richest man

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 10:37 AM PDT

Luxury: An artist's impression of the Wylde Street development 

(Sydney Morning Herald) - ''The bulk of our work was never paid for,'' Greg Crone says. ''We were shocked when he sold up and then just disappeared off the face of the earth. When someone like this just disappears and leaves a shitload of debt it is just unbelievable.''

Onn Mahmud was a wealthy tycoon with a bulging property portfolio when he jetted off without warning in 2007.

Number 10 Wylde Street, Potts Point, commands views to die for on a harbour not short of heart-stopping vistas. Perched high above Woolloomooloo Bay, it faces directly across the sweep of the botanical gardens to the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


For a while, a few years ago, it was the site for one of the most luxurious apartment developments in Australia. In 2008, the duplex penthouse in the five-storey project was sold off the plan for a record price of $20 million.

A year earlier - on the cusp of such riches - the Malaysian tycoon who had brought the project close to fruition abruptly sold the site as he quietly folded most of his substantial Sydney property portfolio and exited the Australian business scene.


Onn Mahmud.

Onn Mahmud.

After initially being offered privately for a firesale price $9.4 million, 10 Wylde Street was eventually sold for $15.5 million - less than its spectacular penthouse had been on track to fetch and way below the projected revenues of $50 million for the entire redevelopment of the old Oakford serviced apartment building.


Virtually no one knew it at the time, but what appeared to have been a disastrous investment reversal in a booming market was, in fact, still a bonanza for a man with money to burn.


Onn Mahmud is the second wealthiest man in Malaysia, with a fortune estimated to be in excess of $2 billion. Malaysia's richest man is his brother, Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of the eastern state of Sarawak and reckoned to be worth more than $15 billion.


Much of that wealth has come through the family's control of logging deals that over the past 30 years have levelled most of the tropical rainforest on the island of Borneo. And a substantial slice of that wealth has found its way into investments in Australia.


Onn Mahmud bought 10 Wylde Street in the 1990s through his company, Ryan Park Limited, for $4.7 million. The windfall profit of $10.8 million netted from the 2007 resale had a sugar coating for the vendor - no tax was paid on the huge capital gain and nothing was returned to the project manager or architect, who were owed millions of dollars in fees and commissions by Onn.


Farok Abdul Majeed.

Farok Abdul Majeed.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media show that Onn's Sydney property empire was carefully constructed behind an Australian corporate facade. Real control lay in a network of offshore companies and trusts based in the Cayman Islands and managed by banking giant Merrill Lynch from offices on the Isle of Man - a structure that enabled Onn to avoid paying Australian tax on tens of millions in Australian profits.


The NSW land transfer lodged after the sale in early 2007 of Wylde Street to another developer (which in turn folded its hand in the face of the later global financial crisis) confirmed that the ultimate owner of the property bought in the name of Ryan Park Limited was a trust registered in the Cayman Islands, operated out of the Isle of Man and controlled by Onn Mahmud. The beneficiaries of that trust were members of Onn's family based in Singapore.


In a statutory declaration sworn on the Isle of Man on March 29, 2007, two Merrill Lynch officers, Nicholas Dearden and Yvonne Smallwood, confirmed that Ryan Park Limited was registered proprietor of Wylde Street but asserted that it was ''an unregistered foreign company'' and that the company ''does not carry on business in Australia''.


Yet when Onn Mahmud had applied for an Australian business visa in 2002, his sponsor was Ryan Park Limited and he had declared that it and several associated companies had invested more than $50 million in commercial properties in Sydney. While Ryan Park had obtained an Australian Business Number in November 1999 as an ''Australian private company'', it was not registered for GST and had never been registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Read more at: 



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