Posted: 08 Nov 2013 12:15 AM PST
Sin Chew Daily
The BN has not only successfully reduced the majority votes of PAS in the Sungai Limau by-election, but the result also showed that 70% of Chinese votes have returned to the BN, even more than the expected 45%. It was a morale booster for the BN and Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak also said that the result was encouraging.
During the general election in May this year, despite the BN had offered various friendly policies to the Chinese community, it did not receive the expected support rate but this time, it finally got a positive return. Of course, a by-election result reflected only the voting trend of the constituency instead of the Chinese community as a whole. After all, there were only 1,837 Chinese votes in Sungai Limau.
Kedah Menteri Besar, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir had reportedly said before the by-election that the state government would not entertain any requests from Chinese schools in Kedah and the remarks were severely attacked by Pakatan Rakyat, more or less affecting the voting tendency of Chinese voters. The situation was later saved by the RM2.25 million funds for Chinese schools announcement made by Deputy Prime Minister and Education Ministry Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the by-election result finally brought relief to Mukhriz.
The funds appropriation had indeed brought some effects and some senior Chinese voters were gratitude to the move, but it is believed that Chinese voters will continue to wait and see the governance ability, as well as the words and deeds of Mukhriz, particularly how he treats Chinese schools in the state, including whether the state government would appropriate funds to the three Chinese independent schools in the state. In the recent by-election, it is believed that many young Chinese voters had not returned to vote due to various reasons, making their voting tendency remains unknown.
Thus, the voting tendency of the Chinese shown in the by-election is interesting. It showed that the Chinese community is not stubborn and they actually know how to play a role even when they are the minority in an election to increase the weight of their votes and gain their interests through the political battle between the two major political parties in the two-party system. Of course, the Chinese community might not necessarily vote for the BN just because of the funds appropriation or some other benefits. It might bring some effects in the by-election but for the national political landscape, I'm afraid that it might not be able to bring a positive effect, but might provoke resentment and lead to the loss of some votes instead.
As Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said during an interview with the Sin Chew Daily, the BN cannot just rely on funding to win back Chinese votes. It is an outdated idea. The Chinese community is concerned not only about the development of Chinese education, but also other national issues, including corruption, the abuse of power and crimes. These are the factors affecting the Chinese voting tendency.
If the BN, particularly Umno, still pursues a rightist political thinking, makes racial politics the spindle, implements racial economic policies while taking political revenge against the Chinese, it will then never be able to regain the support and votes of the Chinese.
Overall, the Sungai Limau by-election showed that the Chinese community has been constantly observing the words and deeds of BN's component parties, particularly Umno, as well as Pakatan Rakyat. Voters, after all, are always the major decision-makers deciding the fate of political parties.
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