Decoding ethnic factors, support levels in our election landscape

Bridget Welsh shares insights on voter preferences for recent state polls, especially Indian community

(The Vibes) – The recent state elections saw an unexpected rise in Indian support for Perikatan Nasional (PN), highlighting a significant shift in the Malaysian political landscape.

This finding, as unveiled by researcher Bridget Welsh on her website, provides a deeper understanding of the evolving preferences among Malaysian voters, particularly within the Indian community. It was first published in Malaysiakini.

In the state elections, while PN substantially bolstered its hold among Malay voters, it was unable to establish a strong resonance with the Chinese electorate. However, a different picture emerged with the Indians.

According to her preliminary analysis, it shows that PN secured an estimated 29% of the Indian vote in Penang, followed by Negri Sembilan at 19%, and Selangor at 14%. These gains, although representing a minority, indicate an undeniable shift from the previous general election.

Chinese voters, in contrast, showcased consistent support for the unity government, maintaining a level close to that of the previous election which hovered around 96%.

Kelantan was a notable outlier, where Chinese backing for the PAS government was higher. Only about 88% of Chinese there supported unity government candidates.

The Indian voting pattern appears more multifaceted. Concerns surrounding the treatment of Indian leaders and the reactions to racial quotas during the campaigns are believed to have influenced Indian voter sentiment.

In Negri Sembilan, Penang, and Selangor, Indian backing for the unity government witnessed declines of about 21%, 19%, and 12%, respectively. MIC’s non-participation in the state polls race further impacted the decline in Indian voter support which was especially evident in Penang.

PN managed to secure significant electoral gains in the state elections last Saturday by garnering increased support from the Malay community.

The coalition’s popular vote share reached 49% of the total vote across the six state polls, almost matching the vote share of the unity government.

This success translated into a gain of 61 seats out of the total 245, particularly in areas with a majority Malay population.

On Malay voters, Welsh noted that PN successfully attracted the overwhelming majority of them, marking an estimated gain of 19%. Across all six states, PN’s support among Malays averaged around 73%.

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