Dissatisfied Chinese reluctant to vote, says analyst

Ilham Centre’s executive director, Hisommudin Bakar, says voters were swayed by disappointment with economic performance and dissatisfaction over targeted fuel subsidy.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Chinese voters were reportedly not “enthusiastic” about voting and choosing Pakatan Harapan due to dissatisfaction with the government’s economic performance, Ilham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar said.

He said disappointment with the economic recovery and dissatisfaction with the new targeted diesel subsidy shaped the views of the voters, adding that electing a new representative for Sungai Bakap did not change the status quo at state level.

“I conclude that Chinese voters appear to be becoming critical but they have not gone so far as to vote for Perikatan Nasional,” he said.

Hisommudin also claimed that the DAP machinery, which leads the state government, was not very aggressive in this campaign.

PN managed to retain the Sungai Bakap state assembly seat, with its candidate, Abidin Ismail, securing 14,489 votes compared to 10,222 votes obtained by PH’s Joohari Ariffin, winning by a majority of 4,267 votes.

Penang PH chairman Chow Kon Yeow said there was a significant reduction in voter turnout, especially among Chinese voters, which contributed to PH’s loss.

He said the turnout among the Chinese community was estimated at 49%, a drop of 13% from the previous state election.

“For non-Malay voters, especially Chinese voters, the level of support is quite low,” Hisommudin said.

Mazlan Ali from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) said he expected this “protest” from middle and upper-income groups, who do not benefit from subsidy assistance.

“Possibly they are sulking and protesting, and then they hear reports of a potential increase in RON95. News like that does not please the people,” he said.

He noted that PN successfully played the narrative of fuel price increases, making the public feel as though the government was not fulfilling its promises.

Commenting on the trend of support from Malay voters, with voter turnout reportedly around 70%, Mazlan said he had anticipated that it would favour PN.

He described the issue concerning the global investment firm BlackRock, which was linked to the takeover of Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), as an “added factor”.

“Malays came out to vote earnestly to show their protest against the government,” he said.