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Racial politics still effective, survey shows

 | March 17, 2016

More than half of Peninsular Malaysians can still be swayed by racial rhetoric.


PETALING JAYA: A survey commissioned by the Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) has shown that racial political rhetoric can still sway more than half of the population of Peninsular Malaysia.

The survey was carried out on a random sampling of 1,056 respondents from both urban and rural areas, with interviews conducted face-to-face using a questionnaire in several languages. While 40 per cent of the respondents openly admitted to being racist, 18 per cent denied being racist but said they would vote only for candidates of their own race.

When the respondents were asked whether they believed that race-based policies were still relevant, 34 per cent of them agreed, while 54 per cent disagreed. The remaining 12 per cent said they were unsure.

Speaking at a press conference here today, Cenbet Co-President Gan Ping Sieu said the reason politicians were still using racial-based strategies was that it had proven to be effective.

“If you want politicians to move away from race-based parties and politics, then the people need to show that they do not want it,” he said. “Based on this survey, it’s apparent that race-based strategies still work.”

He pointed out that the Malaysian population was largely made up of citizens below the age of 25. He said this meant that the findings of the survey were reflective of the aspirations of the younger generation.

When asked why the survey was conducted only in Peninsular Malaysia, Gan said racial tension had always been more prevalent in the peninsula than in Sabah and Sarawak.


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