Chinese voters ‘turned off by Pas policies’

(NST) In the cloud of Pas' by-election win in Kuala Terengganu, the MCA sees a silver lining: the return of Chinese voters to the Barisan Nasional.

According to MCA Terengganu chief Toh Chin Yaw, more Chinese voters voted for the BN at Saturday's by-election than in the March 8 polls last year, especially in the state's main Chinese area of Bandar.

Among the polling centres with majority Chinese voters were Kampung Cina (85 per cent), Bandaran (65 per cent), Paya Bunga (50 per cent) and Pulau Kambing (40 per cent).

Toh, who is the Bandar state assemblyman, said BN support at these polling districts had increased since the general election. He said the majority for the BN in Kampung Cina went up from 369 to 457 votes. Bandaran (265-vote majority), Paya Bunga (210 majority) and Pulau Kambing (265 majority) also recorded slight bumps in support for the BN.

Toh considered the results a minor victory for the local Chinese who make up 11 per cent of Kuala Terengganu's 80,229 voters.
"Considering that Pas had bigwigs like Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, Selangor senior state executive councillor Teresa Kok and even opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim campaigning among the Chinese, the MCA did quite well," he said.

Toh said Pas' exclusively Muslim leadership style and policies were a major turn-off for the local Chinese community as opposed to BN's power-sharing formula in Kuala Terengganu.

More than 50 per cent of Kuala Terengganu's Chinese voters are said to be members of at least nine Chinese guilds and associations, and they are known to vote on issues of the economy.

"As a result, many of the DAP's and Anwar's ceramahs which focused on west coast politics and personal attacks against national leaders fell on deaf ears."