The Chinese swing


No one wants to deal with a political crisis and an economic one at the same time.

Scott Ng, Free Malaysia Today

The Chinese get mentioned a lot after votes are counted in any election. Indeed, their votes have the power to change the shape of a election, and often do so depending on economic and social circumstances.

Now let’s remember that the Chinese make up roughly 30% of the country’s population. This means that a large enough swing from them could give Barisan Nasional a supermajority (assuming that BN gets most of the Malay votes) or, as we saw in 2008, more opposition representation in Chinese-dominated areas. This makes appealing to the Chinese community essential in determining the future direction of the country.

The results of the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections are not good news for the opposition parties, whichever demographic you happen to be looking at. The split in the pro-opposition vote and the apparent instability of the Pakatan Harapan coalition exposed the opposition as weak and vulnerable to the experienced gamesmanship of BN. A last-second hudud panic only served to cut deeper into Pakatan’s talking points as PAS happily crowed the upcoming debate on Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill and its new friendship with Umno.

By and large, the Pakatan experiment is close to collapsing. PKR seems on the verge of a civil war. And with Zaid Ibrahim making the reasonable suggestion that Amanah and DAP together get out of the coalition before they get dragged into PKR’s mess, public confidence in Pakatan is at an all time low.

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