The race factor

10 May

MAY 10 — The race factor definitely played a role in the voter swing in the recent GE13. No doubt about it.

So when Umno-owned newspaper Utusan published the front-page story “Apa lagi Cina mahu?” last Tuesday in response to the voter swing, it couldn’t have been a surprise.

Barisan Nasional consists of many component parties and most of these parties (if not all of them) are all race-based.

And, of course, the three main parties that make up the coalition are Umno (Malay), the MCA (Chinese) and MIC (Indian).

The logic to it is that Umno will attract the Malay voters, the MCA will attract the Chinese and MIC, the Indians. Hence, they should have it all covered in Malaysia.

Then we look at Pakatan Rakyat, who is constantly preaching multiracial politics, claiming that they aren’t race-based.

Honestly, I can identify with them when they say that they are, especially when it comes from their younger (those close to my age) leaders and representatives.

But look at it closer and you will notice that the DAP is really a Chinese party and PAS is a Malay party (yeah, yeah… Islam equals Malay!).

PKR, on the other hand, has a multiracial make-up when it comes to its members and leaders. But, seriously, it is still majority Malay.

So when we talk about politics in Malaysia, it is impossible to run away from the race and ethnicity factor.

Now let’s take a look at BN’s win in the recent general election. Most of the seats that it won were contested by Umno members.

The MCA didn’t perform. It lost so many seats and did worst than the last election. It currently only has seven parliamentary seats, out of 37 that it contested.

The MIC also did badly. It only won four parliamentary seats out of the nine it contested this year.

So at the end of the day, BN’s win was really mainly due to the support of the Malays for Umno.

That would mean that the MCA and MIC really did nothing or contributed nothing towards the coalition and its win. That would make the MCA and MIC quite irrelevant.

Where did the Chinese and Indians go then? Well, they went to Pakatan Rakyat of course. That is quite obvious.

So does that mean that Malaysia is now racially polarised and that we are all clustering in our own race and ethnic group?

Not really. The Malays voted for Pakatan Rakyat too. And it was not an insignificant number of them. It was a pretty large group that did so.

But then again, we can also look at and analyse the breakdown for Pakatan Rakyat’s results just as we did for BN’s.

The DAP won the most number of seats in the PR coalition. It now has 38 of its members in Parliament. PKR is in second place with 30 parliamentary seats.

The component party that had the worst showing was PAS. It only managed to win 21 seats. However, this is still more than the MCA and MIC combined!

This clearly shows that although there is a race factor to the voter swing, it does not mean that it is a major factor and that the country is so polarised.

If you compare BN and PR, the latter obviously managed to garner a wider and balanced voter demographic in terms of race and ethnicity.

So I’m not worried about the country breaking apart as far as all the races are concerned. It shows in the results that a majority of Malaysians are really united.

So I strongly believe that BN has got it wrong when they try to explain to the rakyat that the reason they did badly in the election is because there is no racial harmony.

Realise the fact that 5,623,984 people of different races banded together to vote for PR as opposed to 5,237,699 of mainly Malay people voting for BN (or Umno).

So there is no need for reconciliation, recuperation and rehabilitation (or whatever words you want to use) to happen to make things better for the country.

What is really needed is for BN to look at themselves and realise that they can’t play the blame game, and worse, the race card, for their bad showing.

The majority has spoken and if BN doesn’t listen, the next general election might not just see them losing only the popular vote.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.




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