SEREMBAN: Negeri Sembilan MCA expects to see a slight increase in Chinese support for Barisan Nasional (BN) in the Rantau by-election this Saturday.
The party’s state chief Siow Koi Voon says this was based on a couple of factors, such as the perceived lack of direction in Pakatan Harapan (PH) managing the state’s economy and several encouraging signs noticed during campaigning.
There are 20,926 voters in the constituency, with Chinese making up 18.46%, or a little over 3,860 voters. Generally, 20-30% of the Chinese votes go to BN.
Siow said among the things that are close to the hearts of the Chinese are the economy and development projects, which was what Umno’s Mohamad Hasan, better known as Tok Mat, had ushered in when he was the state’s menteri besar.
Negeri Sembilan, Siow said, was “very backward” and underdeveloped until Mohamad came to take over the reins of the state government.
The state, he said, developed rapidly under the former CEO of Mercedes Benz for Southeast Asia. It attracted local and foreign investments to establish new townships, like Sendayan.
But when PH took over the state government, Siow claims things came to a standstill.
“Some projects were cancelled, but no alternatives were announced.
“The Chinese community in Rantau miss Tok Mat,” he told FMT.
Then there is the fact that Mohamad is now part of the opposition.
The Chinese community has traditionally subscribed to the ideology of having good checks and balances — a fact that former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin had also touched on.
Siow feels this factor would work in favour of the coalition.
Siow also said certain observations made during the campaign period have injected hope of greater support from the Chinese community for Tok Mat.
This includes the reception MCA members received when they went door-to-door, canvassing for votes.
“In the past, we would be greeted by sour faces and some of us were even told to get lost.
“This time around, we have been treated courteously. Some of us were even offered drinks.”
The recent controversy over the alcohol ban at the Seremban International Golf Club has also made the Chinese community wary of PH’s Menteri Besar Aminuddin Harun, Siow claimed.
Aminuddin imposed the ban when he took office in August, citing religious sensitivities.
It was later overturned at an extraordinary general meeting by the club in March.
Aminuddin subsequently said he would step down, but the club’s constitution stipulates that he can only do so if he ceases to be the menteri besar.
“They (the Chinese community) were wondering if he is an MB for only the Muslims.
“Will the (attempted) ban on alcohol lead to other rulings that encroach into their lives?” he asked, adding that the controversy would have a “substantial impact” on Chinese voters.
The Rantau by-election will see a four-cornered fight among Mohamad, PH’s Dr Streram Sinnasamy and independents Malar Rajaram and Mohd Nor Yassin.