No holds barred in Bukit Gantang

Ibrahim observes the tendency of rural Malay Malaysians to distrust the DAP, and expects Umno to harp on the PR state government's failure to put Malay Malaysian interests ahead of other communities.

By Deborah Loh, The Nut Graph

THE Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat can be considered a mini-Malaysia as its racial population breakdown reflects the country's ethnic composition. With 63.5% Malay Malaysian and 35% non-Malay Malaysians voters in the constituency, what happens here could well reflect the national sentiment.

Expect a bitter fight between the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) for the Malay Malaysian votes, especially with emotive issues in the wake of the BN's power grab of the state government. With the ongoing Perak constitutional crisis, Malay Malaysian voters will be tested on the things they hold dear: royalty and race.

The 35% non-Malay Malaysian voters are widely expected to remain with the opposition, but given the current economic gloom, they may also be tempted into voting for the stability and experience of the BN federal government.

As such, the by-election to be held on 7 April can be seen as a referendum on the state of the nation and the issues that have dominated national thinking in the past year since the PR's rise to power.