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Friday, August 11, 2017

How will the silent Malay vote?

If the question can be answered, we can probably make an accurate guess of how GE14 will turn out.
malaysia-1If it’s true, as many pundits have told us, that the result of the coming next general election will be determined by how the Malays vote, the next question to ask is: will they oust Barisan Nasional or keep it in power?
So far, forecasts by so-called political analysts aren’t helping much in answering that question because we know that they are not based on rigorous research. Neither have we gained much insight from surveys that claim to be scientific. One of the more impressive of such surveys was the one recently carried out by Rafizi Ramli’s Invoke. Even then, we were left with no clear answer because many would-be respondents did not in fact respond.
It’s probably safe to say that the number of Malays across the country who would not talk about their political choices is significant enough to make the result of any survey uncertain.
However, one of the major concerns of both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat is how those who have recently reached voting age will cast their ballots. Many of them are Malays and they make up a big portion of those who are silent about their political persuasions.
If an FMT survey among urban Malay youths is anything to go by, their feelings don’t really matter because many won’t turn up to vote at all. They broke their silence only because they were promised anonymity.
Some said they saw both sides as corrupt anyway and it wouldn’t be worth their effort to wait in line at the polling stations. Most, however, were more concerned about how close a Malaysian came to becoming Asia’s Next Top Model than such political developments as Pakatan Harapan’s choice of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad as its chairman.
But putting aside the young urbanites, how will the silent Malays vote? Many observers suspect that Umno thinks they could be scared into voting for it with its anti-DAP rhetoric. Meanwhile, PPBM’s inclusion in Pakatan Harapan is seen as a means of ensuring the Malays that voting for the coalition will not mean a downfall for their race.
So it looks like both sides are playing the race card. But there must be many among the silent Malays who are aware of the games politicians play and therefore the way they vote may be determined by what they think is best for the country.
Will they vote out BN because they blame it for the inability of their children and siblings to get jobs despite graduating from government universities? Do they blame BN for the high cost of living? And do they think Pakatan is able to resolve such issues?
They are hearing allegations revolving around Prime Minister Najib Razak and 1MDB, but they are also hearing allegations about DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng and his bungalow.
The assumption that Mahathir will win Malay votes for Pakatan is probably inaccurate. While there are Malays who see him as a national hero, there are Malays who are so loyal to Umno that they see him as a traitor. There are also Malays who have remained loyal to Anwar Ibrahim since the launch of the Reformasi movement in 1998 and now see Pakatan as having abandoned its principles by working with Mahathir.
One thing many Malays hold dear to their hearts is their religion. But while there are some Malays who think that not supporting the implementation of hudud is going against God’s law, there are others who believe that this is not the time to start talk about hudud because there are so many more pressing matters that Muslims need to address first, such as corruption.
There are also Malays who drink alcohol and do not pray or fast. These Malays will likely vote whichever party promises them liberation from religious policing.
The truth is there’s no telling how these silent Malays will vote and political parties and political analysts would do well to remember that. - FMT

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