Pundits Chinese voters will use Kuala Kubu Baru vote to send protest message to DAP

Just a 5 per cent decrease in turnout from the Chinese, together with a lower than 50 per cent turnout from the Indian community, would be enough to hand the DAP a defeat

(MMO) – Some ethnic Chinese voters could abstain from voting at the Kuala Kubu Baru by-election on May 11 as a form of protest against the DAP, amid talks of growing disenchantment among the community that was once a staunch backer of the Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) strongest component member.

Analysts said there is some truth to speculation that ethnic Chinese voters are frustrated by the controversies that involved Umno’s top leaders charged with corruption, undelivered institutional reform promises, as well as the Anwar government’s handling of issues fuelling religious tension.

But issues that have cropped up in the seven months since the Selangor state polls last August, could potentially upend the voting trend that had helped DAP become PH’s most formidable party, analysts said.

“I think the assumption is a fair one to make, buoyed by the rising disenchantment amongst some of PH’s core supporters towards the coalition over concerns that it has failed to deliver on promised reforms,” said Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, director at Vriens & Partners, a government affairs consultancy for public policy and political risk.

“A low turnout may potentially result in a very closely fought by-election, with DAP/PH retaining with a much smaller majority as opposed to the 14th general election,” he added.

Some in the party agreed. Ong Kian Ming, the DAP’s former member of parliament for Bangi, said he estimated that voter turnout at the May 7 by-election would be lower across all ethnicities, and a significant number of ethnic Chinese and Indian voters could view the polls as unimportant since it won’t affect the stability of the Selangor state government.

“It would not be inaccurate to say that many DAP and PH supporters have been disappointed by the performance of the unity government in the slow pace of delivering institutional reform, in the weak economic narrative (even though FDI numbers and economic growth continue to be healthy),” he said.

“Especially with regards to increases in the cost of living and the cost of doing business, and in the public fights between some PH and BN leaders, especially in the recent weeks over the KK Mart ‘Allah’ socks issue.”

These factors could drive many to abstain from voting in a bid to send a protest message to the ruling coalition, Ong said.

The DAP politician also did not rule out the likelihood that some Chinese and Indian voters may even vote for the Opposition although he felt their numbers would be small.

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