Malays feel Penang under Chinese rule, survey shows

(The Malaysian Insider) – Malay voters in Penang say the state is being run by the Chinese despite backing Lim Guan Eng over other leaders.

A survey of 720 Malay voters by researchers Ilham Centre found that when the island was under a Gerakan-led administration until 2008, Malays saw the Barisan Nasional (BN) government as being led by Umno.

“Lim Guan Eng (picture) is popular and respected for being humble, approachable and being on the ground. But because of the sentiment and prejudice from Umno, he is seen as a Chinese who is threatening Malays,” said the study on perceptions of Malay voters towards Penang and its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government.

It said this showed the media has indoctrinated Malays to see the current administration as “a Chinese or DAP government.”

“It is seen as a DAP, not a Pakatan Rakyat government,” the study concluded, despite nearly 30 per cent of respondents picking current Chief Minister Lim as the most popular and respected leader in the state.

The Malaysian Insider reported last month that a survey commissioned by the DAP showed that less than a third of Malays now back the party, down from nearly 50 per cent just a few months after Lim took office in 2008.

The DAP made a clean sweep of all seats it contested in the island and obliterated Gerakan in the process.

But Umno has eroded Malay support for PR with repeated claims that the coalition is anti-Malay.

Its newspaper Utusan Malaysia also claimed earlier this year that the DAP had conspired with the church to turn Malaysia into a Christian state.

The DAP has tried to reach out to Malays by recruiting Malay leaders such as Transparency International Malaysia founder Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim and Zairil Khir Johari.

Tunku Abdul Aziz is now a vice-chairman while Zairil, son of former Education Minister Tan Sri Khir Johari, is Lim’s political secretary.

The DAP secretary-general is followed by Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Mansor Othman, state Opposition Leader Datuk Azhar Ibrahim and Penang Umno chief Datuk Zainal Osman in popularity.