PETALING JAYA: A political analyst has refuted Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) claim that Barisan Nasional (BN) saved the “easy” seats for Umno while letting MCA and MIC struggle in tough constituencies in the coming polls.
Faisal S Hazis, an associate professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said the problem was that BN had largely lost the support of non-Malays following the 2013 general election.
As such, he said, the seats contested by MCA and MIC were inherently difficult as non-Malays, especially the Chinese, would remain with the opposition.
“The claim made by PH is only propaganda. PH knows that there are no more Chinese-majority seats left for BN as in the last election (GE13), all Chinese-majority seats were won by Pakatan Rakyat,” he said to FMT, referring to the now-defunct precursor of PH.
At a ceramah in Klang last night, PH’s candidate for the Pelabuhan Klang state seat, Azmizam Zaman Huri, said he pitied MCA and MIC as they had to contend with difficult seats made even harder by gerrymandering while Umno handled the easy seats.
He also cited Putrajaya, one of the smallest parliamentary constituencies, as an example of an easy seat where Umno was running.
On why fresh MCA faces were being fielded in areas where PH candidates were favourites, such as MCA’s Ho Kwok Xheng going against DAP’s Tony Pua in the Damansara federal constituency, Faisal said they were all that the BN party had left to offer.
“I think the components realise that they might actually lose most, if not all, of the Chinese-majority seats, like in GE13. But they can’t go in with a defeatist mindset,” he said.
“You have to remember that prior to GE13, Prime Minister Najib Razak introduced policies like the Economic Transformation Programme, the Government Transformation Programme, and the 1Malaysia concept. He also abolished the Sedition Act.
“All these were clearly meant to recapture the non-Malay voters and yet Najib failed.
“Now, MCA has to have something fresh to offer the voters, that’s why it is fielding new faces. What else does it have to offer?”
MCA has also placed a new candidate, businessman Ching Eu Boon, in Klang against Charles Santiago, who is DAP’s two-term MP there.
MIC meanwhile is fielding first-time contender V Gunalan Vellu, also a businessman, against Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, popularly known as Mat Sabu, in the Kota Raja parliamentary constituency.
When asked to comment on Azmizam’s claim, MCA’s Ho said he was more than happy to run in Damansara, and that every seat had its challenges.
“I feel that with so many voters behind me, I would carry with me a louder voice to Parliament,” he said.
Perak DAP chief Nga Kor Ming had previously claimed that Umno was “killing off” its other coalition partners by taking over three seats in the state traditionally contested by them.
He said they were the Lumut parliamentary seat, and the Hutan Melintang and Kuala Sepetang state seats.
Umno Supreme Council member Nazri Aziz, however, refuted the claim, saying it was just a matter of strategy.
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