Keeping the BN afloat

The one-billion-ringgit question is that if sizeable numbers of Malays continue to reject Umno in the Malay heartland, will the non-Malays come to Umno's rescue again? Will they join their cousins elsewhere, who would likely vote even more strongly against the BN come the next elections?

By Wong Chin Huat, The Nut Graph

I ARGUED previously that the Kuala Terengganu by-election is a battle in which Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has little to gain and much to lose.

A real turning point would happen only if Umno can seriously bring down PAS's support to below 45% among Malay Malaysians and 25% among non-Malay Malaysians. These figures are the estimated average levels in the 55 peninsular seats with 75% or more Malay Malaysian constituents. Without mysterious developments in the electoral process, such as the record 98% voter turnout in the provisional result of the 2004 polls, this looks almost impossible now.

However, if PAS wins this battle with the same 628-votes margin that the Barisan Nasional (BN) won by in March 2008, PAS, Pakatan Rakyat and numerous bloggers will proclaim this swing of 1,256 votes as the beginning of Najib's end. They will carry this euphoria to Sarawak, which they hope will be the sixth Pakatan Rakyat state. As the saying goes, politics is all about perception.

Who else stands a chance to be the winner from this fight? As counter-intuitive as it sounds, I would say the MCA, Gerakan, the MIC, the People's Progressive Party (PPP), the BN, and ultimately Umno itself.