Chinese voters unpredictable, says Soi Lek

(The Malaysian Insider) – Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek has dismissed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s opinion that the Chinese vote was not with Barisan Nasional (BN), pointing out that this was merely speculation on the part of the former prime minister.

Dr Mahathir said yesterday that BN should delay calling elections to allow more time to win support from groups specifically the Chinese community.

“That is a perception. I always say that the Chinese are very strategic voters,” Dr Chua (picture) told reporters today when asked to comment on Dr Mahathir’s remarks.

“And in politics we don’t know when is the election and we don’t know when the Chinese will come back,” he added.

Dr Chua cited the 2008 general election as an example.

“Everyone said that everybody is with BN,” he said.

“Until the ballot boxes were open, we found out that not everybody is with BN.”

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir had said he was confident Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would probably secure a simple majority in Parliament without winning back the two-thirds control lost in 2008 if elections were held today.

But, he said, BN would struggle to win back states held by Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

He said BN “can’t afford to lose support from any sector of the country. The current thinking is that the Chinese won’t vote for the government.”

The MCA has been struggling to win back Chinese votes lost to the opposition in 2008.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Najib had recently decided to delay polls despite plans to hold elections in the first quarter of the year.

He is understood to be keen to gauge support for BN only after a slew of direct aid packages for the public and economic stimulus projects kick in, because of concerns over a softening economy.

A bungle over a proposed new salary scheme for civil servants and the continuing controversy over the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) involving Cabinet member Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil’s family have also contributed to a rethink in BN strategy.

There had been speculation that Najib would call for a general election soon as his popularity remains high and there is a positive buzz from the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision to acquit Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on a sodomy charge, the second in 14 years.