Did the lack of real reforms lead to low Chinese turnout?

The lack of real reforms led to low turnouts among Chinese voters in Sungai Bakap, said Prof James Chin, Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Tasmania.

(Harapan Daily) – “Not only the Chinese, but non-Malays in general are quite disappointed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has not brought any real reforms,” he told Harapan Daily.

He also noted that the Chinese community is particularly upset with the government’s removal of subsidies.

“The other big issue among the Chinese is that people are really angry with the government for taking away the subsidies.

“And a lot of Chinese businesses are actually affected quite badly,” he said, citing the transportation and logistics industry as examples.

Chin also highlighted economic factors influencing the by-election.

“People just think that the economy is not doing well, and if the economy is not doing well, the most affected will be the non-Malays, because Malays have access to government subsidies, and Chinese and Indians do not,” he said.

“So all this makes the Chinese very unhappy, and since they have no choice but to support Pakatan, the best way to show their unhappiness is to stay at home,” he added.

He also mentioned that people do not take state by-elections seriously.

“I think another issue is that by-elections are a bit funny business because people know they are not going to change the government. So people take a more relaxed attitude towards by-elections,” he said.

Perikatan Nasional secured victory in the Sungai Bakap by-election yesterday, with their candidate Abidin Ismail winning by a substantial margin of 4,267 votes over PH candidate Dr. Joohari Ariffin.

The by-election was triggered by the passing of PAS assemblyman Nor Zamri Latiff, who also served as the Nibong Tebal PAS division chief.