MCA survives on Malay votes, not Chinese votes

(FMT) – Despite an encouraging campaign in Melaka where it won two state seats, MCA will continue to struggle to win Chinese votes and will have to rely on Umno for its survival, says a political analyst.

“MCA’s role in Barisan Nasional’s victory is fairly insignificant in the sense that the coalition cannot expect MCA to deliver Chinese votes,” said Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid of Universiti Sains Malaysia on the party’s prospects in the coming Johor state elections.

He said MCA may be successful in mixed constituencies especially where there are multi-cornered fights among Malay political parties though this will be because of votes from Umno supporters.

Fauzi said even though the Chinese community’s support for DAP has waned since the 2018 general election, it did not mean Chinese votes would swing “en masse” to MCA.

With MCA having to rely on Umno for votes, Fauzi said the BN lynchpin might reclaim some of the Malay-majority seats it let MCA contest in the past.

“Umno may face pressure from its hardcore supporters to show MCA who’s the boss.”

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said MCA’s dependence on Umno meant that the Malay party was in a commanding position where seat negotiations were concerned.

“Umno’s grabbing of 42 of the 56 state seats despite a high proportion of Chinese voters in Johor says it all,” he told FMT.

Oh said he believes BN has “given up” on trying to win Chinese-majority seats and will leave these seats to MCA. “I believe Umno is eyeing mixed seats with a significant Malay population. To me, MCA is more of a ‘decorative’ component in BN.

He said although PH may be seeing a dip in support because of a lower voter turnout and frustrations of some who voted for them before, this may not necessarily benefit MCA. “The Chinese voters who don’t want to vote PH will not back MCA. Even if they come out to vote, they will be likely to vote for Muda or Warisan.”