Why con a stupid Chinaman

In response to the many comments posted against the Chinese replying to the article “How to con a stupid Chinaman” posted on MT on Labour Day ’09, herein lies my views in pertinent to this subject, not the “stupid” part but the “why” part. 

By Hakim Joe (100th letter posted in MT)

The Chinese forms a minor segment of the legal residents of Malaysia, approximately 25.4% according to the statistical department. Not that many, but numbers adequately significant to elicit attention from the government and the opposition alike. Look at the Indians (7.5%) in contrast and one will understand why this race of Malaysian is accorded a different approach.

Apart from that fact, there are other salient factors that make the Chinese vote so important in Malaysia. 25.4% really isn’t much but it is definitely the “deciding” aspect that makes it so. The 65.8% Bumiputeras consist of 50.6% Malays and 15.2% indigenous residents. The Malay votes are now split and the latter is basically pro-BN. Let’s assume 40% of the Malay votes and a third of the indigenous votes are pro-Opposition. That comes to about 20.2% and 5.1% respectively and makes it about 25.3% pro-Opposition and about 40.5% pro-BN (ballpark figure).

Now we analyse the 7.5% Indian vote. Let us again assume a fifty-fifty share. The approximate figures are now about 29.1% pro-Opposition and 44.3% pro-BN. As anyone will tell you, the Chinese vote suddenly assumes a significant role in the determination of the government, especially knowing the fact that these Cina Apeks are notoriously pro-Opposition. BN needs another 6% out of the available 25.4% to form a simple majority government and it is really a simple job considering the fact that there exist such associations like MCA and Gerakan – hence the con job.

As with BN requiring the pivotal Chinese votes, the Opposition needs the commanding Bumiputera votes – a circle within a circle. Look again to the Federal Elections 2008 and one can see that BN only garnered about 51% of popular vote when winning 63% of the total seats. If this is the case, it means that BN only obtained about 7% of the available 25.4% Chinese and Indian votes.

Fact Number One: BN only obtained 49.8% of the popular vote in West Malaysia. Pakatan actually got 50.2% but still only have 80 out of the 165 West Malaysian parliamentary seats (gerrymandering at its optimum effectiveness).

Fact Number Two: BN got 55 parliamentary seats from East Malaysia – about a quarter of the total available parliamentary seats.

That was the “big” picture. It still does not effectively explain why the con job was needed. Here’s why. The 222 parliamentary seats can be effectively segregated into: 

  1. Group A where the voters are predominantly Malays (about 70 seats);

  2. Group B where the voters are almost equally race distributed (about 44 seats);

  3. Group C where the voters are predominantly Non-Malays (about 51 seats), and

  4. Group D (East Malaysia) – 57 seats.

In 2008, BN won 45 seats from Group A (64%), 25 seats from Group B (57%), 15 seats from Group C (29%) and 55 seats from Group D (96%) making it a total of 140 seats. With NEP still enforced, BN can expect a similar result from Group A and Group D. Group B and Group C are an entirely different can of worms. There are 95 seats available here or almost 43% of the total available parliamentary seats. The Non-Bumiputera votes are extremely important here especially when the Malay votes are split. Continue to lose the Indians and Chinese votes and this block of seats might end up in Pakatan’s hands. 

With the Chinese populace three times the populace of Indians, their support are deemed more important. MIC could still be relied to deliver quite a few parliamentary seats but MCA and Gerakan are “up shit creek without a paddle”. 

Now we know how essential it is to “con a stupid Chinaman”.