The fight for Chinese votes intensifies


(The Star) – DAP has come out to dismiss the increase in Chinese support for MCA in the just-concluded Kajang state by-election.

IT was past midnight and his voice was barely audible after the intense campaigning period.

But that did not stop Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong from analysing the voting trend in the just-concluded Kajang by-election with his party comrades.

The MCA deputy president, who was in charge of the party’s campaign, was excited despite the Barisan Nasional losing to the PKR by 5,379 votes in the Sunday poll.

Their candidate Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, who is also an MCA vice-president, had bagged 11,362 votes while PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had drawn 16,741 votes.

What excited Dr Wee was that his party had implemented a clearly-thought-out model for the campaign and that it had shown encouraging results.

“There is an increase in the number of votes for us in Sungei Chua 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 despite the (overall) lower voter turnout,” he said of the five predominantly Chinese polling stations in the state constituency during an interview at the party’s main operation centre after the results were announced.

These stations showed the Barisan had secured 25% of the Chinese votes, a 7% increase against the outcome in the May 5 general election last year.

The Kajang constituency has 39,278 registered voters, of which 40.28% (or 15,823) are Chinese, 48.5% (or 19,050) Malays, 10.29% (or 4,040) Indians and the rest Sabah and Sarawak bumiputra and orang asli.

The fact that the Chinese made up a substantial number of the voters in the constituency gave the by-election a semblance of a tug-of-war between the MCA and DAP, an ally of the PKR in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

In other words, what is meat to MCA is poison to DAP.

While statistics do not lie, people, especially politicians, will interpret the numbers to suit their agenda.

A day after the polls, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang issued a statement to belittle the MCA.

“If winning – at most – 25% of the Chinese votes is not a political phenomenon of the MCA remaining ‘crushed’, then there is a new definition of the word,” said Lim, who went on to defend DAP’s position.

According to him, the MCA would not have achieved the 25% Chinese support if the Chinese turnout was higher.

He also said the turnout was 20% lower, involving over 3,000 voters.

By saying so, the DAP strongman is implying this large group of Chinese voters are Pakatan Rakyat supporters or DAP hardcores.

If such is the case, an MCA leader questioned Lim why this group stayed out when he and his party leaders kept appealing to the Chi-nese to come out in full force to vote on Sunday?

Dubbed the “Kajang Move” or “Kajang to Putrajaya”, it was widely seen as a morale booster – to tell Paka­tan Rakyat supporters that their failure to wrest Putrajaya in vthe 13th general election last year was not the end.

The candidate is the wife of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was disqualified at the last minute to contest in the by-election because of his sodomy case conviction.

The voter turnout on Sunday was 72% against 88% in the general election last year. The PKR assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh resigned in January to pave the way for the by-election .

While DAP claimed the low turnout, especially of Chinese voters, was to Barisan’s advantage, a political observer said it would be good if the opposition party could list the reasons for the high absenteeism among its hardcore supporters in the polls.