Analysis: Malaysia by-election a test of government unity; poor result could bury idea of PH-BN ‘super coalition’

by Admin
Analysis: Malaysia by-election a test of government unity; poor result could bury idea of PH-BN ‘super coalition’

Professor James Chin from the University of Tasmania said it will be difficult for UMNO to ask Malays – who now form the majority of Kuala Kubu Bharu’s voters – to support the government’s candidate.

Fifty per cent of voters in the constituency now are Malay, 30 per cent are Chinese, and 18 per cent are Indian.

“If the candidate is from DAP, UMNO will have some problems, especially after Akmal’s quarrels with Nga Kor Ming,” Prof Chin said, referring to how the DAP vice-chairman – who is also the Housing and Local Government Minister – had traded barbs with Dr Akmal over the socks issue.

“A lot of (whether Malay voters will support the government candidate) will depend on how aggressively UMNO will be campaigning among the Malay community.”

Ms Pang is also the current press secretary of Mr Nga, who stirred controversy by suggesting in February that Selangor’s Chinese new villages be nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

UMNO’s Malay nationalists slammed the idea, which was also criticised by some quarters for evoking painful memories of exploitation during the country’s colonial era.

In a commentary published by Free Malaysia Today, Kua Kia Soong, an academic and former MP, wrote that the nomination was an “insult” to those who fought colonial power.

Between 1948 to 1960, the British colonial administration – purportedly fighting the anti-colonial movement – forcibly relocated Chinese Malaysians into tightly monitored settlements with inhumane living conditions. These settlements include the Chinese new villages.

Plans for the UNESCO nomination were subsequently abandoned.


The government’s problems could be further compounded by decreasing support from the non-Malay community, which forms half of voters in Kuala Kubu Bharu.

Already, certain quarters had called for Indian voters in the constituency to not support the PH candidate, citing dissatisfaction with the unity government’s treatment of the Indian community. Mr Anwar has defended his treatment of Malaysian Indians.

Beyond that, political scientist Wong Chin Huat from Sunway University believes the socks issue has soured DAP and UMNO’s relationship to the point that UMNO will not campaign for DAP.

“Or if UMNO does, the campaign would be ineffective (to rally support from) Malay voters and off-putting for the non-Malays,” he told CNA.

“Those (UMNO members) who do (campaign) would be seen as soft towards DAP. At the same time, DAP’s self-restraint on the KK Super Mart issue and (on the) Najib (issue) has made its base feeling lost, and questioning if their once vocal party has morphed into the new MCA.”

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