By Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today
KUALA LUMPUR: The Barisan Nasional may have reclaimed the Hulu Selangor seat in the recent parliamentary by-election but there is something the ruling coalition should worry about – the Chinese voters.
PAS secretary-general Mustapha Ali said today some 70% of the Chinese had voted for PKR's Zaid Ibrahim, giving a clear indication that they were not impressed by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's 1Malaysia concept.
"They think the 1Malaysia concept touted by the BN leaders is all a sham unlike Pakatan Rakyat's concept of justice," Mustapha told reporters at PAS headquarters here.
He also feels that the voters were "fed up" with the prolonged MCA leadership crisis and the "racial sentiment" played up by Umno.
"They were probably disappointed with (Deputy Prime Minister) Muhyiddin Yassin's statement too," he said, referring to his controversial statement "I am Malay first, Malaysian second" that had upset most of the minorities in the country.
In the by-election, most of the Chinese votes went to the opposition, especially in major towns like Kalumpang, Kuala Kubu Baru and Rasa.
Three major reasons why Pakatan lost
Mustapha said that BN had focused on three main areas to weaken PKR's defences – the Felda settlers, Orang Asli and the Indians in the estates.
The reason was that most of the voters in these areas "are dependent" on BN as opposed to those who were not politically bound to the government.
"In Felda, we can say that 60% of the votes went to BN and following the relocation of the Orang Asli voting streams in one place, the party machinery could now control them easily," he said.
Despite all this, PKR could still penetrate the urban and suburban Malay areas, especially in the Umno stronghold of Hulu Bernam.
"PKR received more votes than BN in this area but throughout Malaysia, Felda became Umno's bastion where they would get a 'fixed deposit' every time there is an election," he said.
For example, Mustapha said Malay support in Felda schemes in Sungai Buaya swung to BN when the government announced that it would finally build a tiered interchange in the area next year after a 15-year wait.
This meant that the developer, who acquired the land from the former settlers, would be able to repay the balance of their compensation which was long overdue.