Rafizi: Focus on bread and butter issues to win over voters

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian voters, especially those still sitting on the fence, are much more concerned with bread and butter issues than corruption scandals like 1MDB.

Which is why all opposition parties should train their sights on addressing these issues, on top of their routine 1MDB talks, said PKR’s Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli.

“We shouldn’t be too carried away with 1MDB. We must address issues affecting the people, and it must be done continuously until it is finalised in the (Pakatan Harapan) election manifesto.

“We must do this not just in our ceramah, where the attendees no matter what, will support us.

“We must attract the fence-sitters, that is those who are going on social media and other media, reading and listening to what both the government and the opposition are saying,” he told a press conference here today.

Rafizi had earlier revealed the findings of a nationwide survey conducted by PKR-linked Invoke, which found that voters are much more concerned with issues affecting their day-to-day lives rather than corruption and the alleged embezzlement of funds from state-owned investment firm, 1MDB.

The survey involved 17,107 respondents, called at random between June 5 to July 14. The respondents comprised 11,769 Malays (69%), 3,377 Chinese (20%), 1,046 Sabah and Sarawak Bumiputera (6%) and 915 Indians (5%).

In the survey, 47.7% of the Malays, 29.1% of the Chinese, and 47.6% of the Indians polled showed five times more concern towards the rising cost of living caused by the GST.

Economic matters meanwhile, are the subject of concern for 4% of the Malays, 16.5% of the Chinese, and 8.9% of the Indians surveyed.

Another topic of particular interest to the respondents was employment and wages. This was expressed by 10.4% of Malays, 4.9% of Chinese, and 6.6% of Indians.

Corruption and “scandals” on the other hand, only piqued the interest of 13.6% of the Malay respondents, 15.1% of the Chinese, and 9.9% of the Indians.

It is important to note, however, that the answers provided by Sabah and Sarawak Bumiputera respondents were lumped under the “Malay” category.

According to Rafizi, if they were to have their own category, they would have to be divided into different ethnicities which would make the numbers “so small and insignificant”.

Meanwhile, the PKR vice-president also said that the support for BN has dwindled down due to their failure to properly address the people’s bread and butter concerns.

Rafizi believes this can be used to the opposition’s advantage, but warned that there must be less reliance on the public’s anger towards the ruling coalition and Prime Minister Najib Razak.

“This is because BN can compensate for their past ignorance by handing out election ‘goodies’ in the announcement of Budget 2018 this October, in preparation for the next general election.

“If you focus solely on the anger towards Najib, while BN is giving out goodies, there’s a chance that the fence sitters would swing to BN,” he said.

“The fence-sitters only want to hear what’s important (to them). So if BN is smart, they will give out money and change policies (closer to the elections).

“So I think PH needs to immediately move to the next phase, which is providing solutions on, for example, how to reduce foreign workers here.”