The Merdeka Centre report indicated that 2 out of 3 Chinese voters are likely to vote for the Opposition in the next general elections. While 18 percent of them do not know their preference yet. These are fence-sitters who will cast their vote based on several other considerations e.g. quality of candidate, campaign strategy, constituency service and others. The poll - which involved 1,025 respondents aged 16 and above - attempted to examine the voting trend in the next general election, due by April 2009.
Most of the respondents who noted that they will vote for the opposition are discontented with the 'directionless' economy. Although the government, through its controlled media, has reported bullish economic indices many Malaysians cannot find a connection between the indices and their livelihood. I have heard many people said that the CNY 'feel' is not there. My friends running retail shops and food outlets have registered marginal increase in sales. They told me that they are lucky to be surviving.
What has gone wrong? For example, the trade indices showed that we are now a RM1 trillion economy but looking deeper into the figures is bound to suggest otherwise. On our exports, a total of RM281 billion out of the RM588 billion came from the electrical and electronics industry. Similarly for our imports, a large portion of it are intermediary goods and components used in the E&E sector.
The real Malaysian economy is a lot smaller than RM1 trillion. What is the point of painting a rosy picture of the economy when the people are not feeling better off? It is amazing that the government is able to hide beneath the OSA on some of its privatisation agreements which are utterly unfair to the people. Samy Vellu said "why go after my blood, the cabinet is the one making the decision". He is part of the cabinet. The arrogant minister revealed that the government may have to pay RM580 billion to buy back the highway concessions. This is a highway robbery!
Nevertheless, the Malay community’s support for the BN is rock solid at 64 percent of the total respondents. Only 28 percent disagreed and only four percent answered ‘maybe’. Explaining the Malay preference to keep the status quo, Ibrahim Suffian said the community has been “shielded and protected” by the government in terms of income. The majority of the Malay voters (in rural areas) are earning a decent income, especially with rising commodity prices. Rural folks are less affected by the rising cost of living and other rates hike.
The Indian community responded less warm to the BN, with 47 percent said that the ruling coliation earned their vote. This community can be considered one of the most marginalised communities in the country. Their share of the economic pie shed from 1.5 percent to 1.3 percent in the 9MP. Ananda Krishnan is the second richest man in Malaysia, holds probably more than half of the wealth attributed to the Indian Malaysians.
Overall those in the private sector or doing their own business are most prone to vote against the government even for the Malays. Businessmen (63 percent) and those in the private sector (46 percent) have the highest likelihood of voting for the opposition. This is a good indicator on whether the economy is really performing that well.
Malaysians, watch out! We could be facing one of the most polarised general elections since 1990.