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The faint signs of Malay Tsunami

  • If more Malay voters swing away from BN, the final outcome could be a real shocker, not unlike the US presidential election or the UK Brexit referendum.

By LIM SUE GOAN
Sin Chew Daily

The latest polls appear to be not in favor of Pakatan Harapan.

Based on the polls conducted by Merdeka Center as of April 9 this year, only about 7.9% of Malay voters are likely to swing in favor of the opposition. This weak “Malay Tsunami” is not enough to bring about a change in the federal administration.

Even with an 8% swing of Malay votes towards the opposition, BN will still have sufficient votes to keep its power.

However, there are serious doubts about the polls.

The polls show that BN will see the biggest drop in its Malay support in Johor, down from 81.8% in 2013 to 60.9%, while the Malay support in Kedah is only marginally lower by 1.1% to 53.4%.

Does that imply that Muhyiddin is much more influential than Mahathir?

In the 2013 general elections, Tun Mahathir helped BN recapture Kedah, and with both Mahathir and his son now contesting in the state, is it possible that they will only have a minimal impact on Umno?

In a January Merdeka Center survey among 1,007 individuals in Johor (55% Malay, 38% Chinese and 7% Indian), as many as 55% respondents were unhappy with the performance of the federal government and only 39% said they were satisfied.

Meanwhile, 54% of respondents said they were unhappy with Najib.

Among the reasons for the people's frustration, 21% attributed it to the rising cost of living, followed by poor administrative management (14%), corruption (11%), poor economic management (7%), government negligence of people's well-being (5%) and unfairness (4%).

Merdeka Center founder Ibrahim Suffian said then that up to 83% of Malay voters in Johor supported BN in 2013, but BN's favorability rating among Malay respondents had since dropped from 65% to 58%.

If the numbers were justifiable, the support rating of BN among the Malays in Johor would have gone up since January instead of going down.

Another interesting set of figures is that BN's favorability rating has increased from 45.6% to 54% among Malay voters in Kelantan, and from 51.5% to 56% in Terengganu.

If these numbers hold, Kelantan will fall into the hands of BN in GE14.

PAS president Hadi Awang has claimed that his party would play the role of “kingmaker” in the coming general elections. What if the “cooperation” with Umno does not bring any good to PAS but may cost it the Kelantan state administration?

Based on the polls, BN will win in three-cornered fights in 121 parliamentary seats in West Malaysia if 53% of Malay voters support BN, 27% PAS and 20% PH.

As PH gets the support of 85% Chinese voters and 54% Indian voters, PAS is expected to lose in all constituencies with fewer than 80% Malay voters.

Although according to the polls, Pakatan Harapan will have a stronger support among Chinese voters in Johor, the support rates of BN and PH in the state are expected to be very close, at 47% and 42% respectively, while PAS clinches 11%.

Nevertheless, we are practicing a “first-past-the-post” electoral system and a very close support rating will not be reflected in the number of seats won.

Merdeka Center predicts that BN only needs the support of 47.5% of Malay voters to win 95 seats in West Malaysia in order form the next government with the further contribution from East Malaysia components.

As for PH, it needs to win at least 100 seats on the peninsula (with at least 34% of Malay votes) because it can only manage a handful of Chinese-majority seats in Sarawak while its hope of bagging a bigger victory in Sabah is a tall order given the disunity among opposition parties in the state.

Additionally, BN only needs to win 50% of the smallest 112 seats in the country which collectively make up only 33% of all voters, meaning only 16.5% of votes are needed for BN to win the elections.

With so many factors to the advantage of BN, it is hard to imagine the ruling coalition will lose Putrajaya.

However, if more Malay voters swing away from BN, the final outcome could be a real shocker, not unlike the US presidential election or the UK Brexit referendum.

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