Parties eyeing Penang because DAP losing support, says analyst

Several parties, including two lesser-known ones, are eyeing Penang because DAP is losing favour among its supporters, an analyst said.

(FMT) – James Chin of University of Tasmania said the discontent was not just in Penang but throughout the country as shown by the party’s losses in the Melaka and Sarawak elections.

One of the reasons why the party’s Chinese supporters were unhappy was the non-recognition of the United Examinations Certificate (UEC) – a school-leaving examination for Chinese-medium high schools – even when Pakatan Harapan, of which DAP is a member, was in federal power.

Chin said the other frustration was their unhappiness with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad over policies affecting the community. He said DAP’s insistence on supporting Mahathir had further eroded its support base.
James Chin.

“The Chinese electorate can be an unforgiving lot. They are angry that DAP could not get UEC recognised, and the party was seen as unable to stand up against Mahathir. DAP is in trouble,” he said.

This was why Warisan and Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) were hoping to make inroads into Penang, he said, adding that MCA and Gerakan were also trying to “rejuvenate” themselves by touching base with the Chinese voters, whose support they lost years ago.

He said the two Chinese-dominated parties were “emboldened” and riding high on the discontent, holding luncheons, dinners and other engagements to “gauge the market”.

Chin doubted if Warisan and PBM would pose a threat to the DAP-dominated PH state government, but said they might stand a chance of winning a few seats.

He said the voters were not likely to warm up to them given their history of taking in defectors from other parties.

Those currently leading Warisan in Penang were former elected representatives trying to wrest back their seats, he said.

“These former DAP leaders were left out in the cold and want to make a comeback in their old constituencies,” he said.

“For the Chinese voters, it has always been either MCA, Gerakan or DAP.

“Now that DAP is losing support, we are in uncharted waters as there are more voters (with Undi18). Will these voters try something new? We can only say when we get close to the polls.”

According to DAP’s Lim Guan Eng, PH won an estimated 90% of the Chinese votes in the 2018 general election.