Poll reveals Chinese votes not safe in KT

(The Malaysian Insider) KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — It might be too close to call in the Kuala Terengganu by-election but an independent poll suggests that the Chinese, long seen as a safe vote bank for BN, could swing to the opposition.

More Chinese voters have expressed the need for a stronger opposition in Parliament and 75 per cent of those polled said an opposition victory “is an indication to the BN government to treat non-Malays more fairly”.

The Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research had polled 527 registered voters by telephone between January 7 and 11, speaking to 408 Malays and 119 Chinese to reflect the demographics in the Malay-dominated seat of 80,229 constituents.

An analysis of the March 8 elections won by the late Datuk Razali Ismail of BN showed that 53 per cent of the Malay vote went to Pas while 64 per cent of the Chinese vote went to BN. The voter turnout then was 87 per cent.

But 61 per cent of the Chinese polled there now disagree that there is no reason to strengthen the opposition in Parliament against 24 per cent who felt there is enough opposition lawmakers. Overall, 49 per cent of the 527 polled felt there was a need for more opposition.

The Chinese were equally split on the importance of hudud laws as a by-election issue against only 41 percent of the Malays surveyed who thought it was important. The Chinese-based DAP, while campaigning for Pas in the by-election, have made it clear to their allies they are against implementation of hudud laws.

The Pakatan Rakyat electoral alliance is made up of DAP, Pas and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

Forty per cent of the Chinese polled said hudud is a serious matter to be considered by voters although 37 per cent of them agreed its “being exploited by the media so as to deter Chinese voters from supporting” the opposition.

More Chinese felt that PR could take care of their interests, 37 per cent, compared to only 19 per cent of the Malays polled sharing that sentiment.

In fact, 60 per cent of the Malays surveyed felt Barisan Nasional was a better choice with 26 per cent of Chinese agreeing with them.

In the survey, 94 per cent of the Chinese supported a political system based on the supremacy of the people with only 38 per cent of the Malays supporting that statement. More than half of the Malays agreed to a system based on Malay dominance.

As to by-election, 56 percent of the Chinese respondents and 46 percent of the Malay respondents agreed that voting for the Pakatan Rakyat could force the Barisan Nasional government to “change for the better”.