Chinese vote, US backing not enough to propel Pakatan to Putrajaya, says don

Amin Iskandar, The Malaysian Insider

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will not capture Putrajaya with only the support from the minority Chinese voters and international recognition from the United States, an analyst specialising in Malaysian politics said in the run-up to Malaysia’s tightest electoral race.

According to Prof William Case, acting head of department for Asian and International Studies at the City University of Hong Kong, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition will not fall to PR without the majority support from the Bumiputera voters even if the opposition pact wins strong support from the Chinese community.

He added that the BN will still win the 13th general election but with a reduced majority compared to Election 2008 due to more urban middle-class Malay voters swinging towards PR.

“Whatever the Chinese sentiment, at a figure of 26 per cent of the population their numbers are not big enough to defeat BN.

“Unless the Chinese consolidate with a majority of Bumiputera voters it will not happen.

“We must observe too the number of Chinese voters who returned to support Najib,” he told The Malaysian Insider in a recent email interview, referring to the BN coalition led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Case feels that the US leans more towards a PR victory at the polls because of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s image as a moderate Muslim the world superpower is able to deal with.

“Washington is certainly continuing its support to democracy.

“However, Washington is not so opposed to Najib as those who look down on Abdullah or are sceptical towards Mahathir,” the academic said, referring to Najib’s two predecessors, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad respectively.

Abdullah had taken over the leadership of BN from Dr Mahathir after the latter resigned as prime minister in October 2003, and led the 13-member coalition to its biggest win only to lose its customary two-thirds control of Parliament and four states in Election 2008.

“In fact, some may feel a little respect for Najib as a visionary manager in a difficult and imbalanced situation.

“Whatever Washington’s views, it will only have a little impact to the votes in Malaysia,” the professor said.

Case is not a foreign name in Malaysian politics and administration, having written much about the country and who is now making a study on the state of federalism here.

He has predicted that BN will still win the 13th general election but with a reduced majority compared to Election 2008.