PETALING JAYA: Bersatu cannot expect to gain additional Chinese support just because the party is fielding a handful of candidates in the state polls, say analysts.
In Saturday’s polls, Bersatu’s associate wing has 10 Chinese and six Indians, including a former MCA man, contesting seats in Selangor, Penang, and Negeri Sembilan.
Goh Gaik Meng, a former MCA Youth central committee member who is now PN’s candidate for the Sekinchan seat in Selangor, told Malaysiakini he was confident he could gain votes from MCA members considering his background.
Speaking to FMT, James Chin of the University of Tasmania said not many Chinese would consider moving to Bersatu’s associate wing as they would not be able to become full-fledged members with the same rights and benefits.
“Those that do, of course, will be given benefits like standing as candidates and that sort of thing, but it is also widely understood that none of them will actually win,” he said.
“They are just put there as window dressing so that Bersatu can claim that PN is multiracial. I will say that the majority of them will lose their deposits.”
Chin said this was in spite of recent reports about MIC members joining PN. Selangor PN stated last month that a large number of MIC members had quit the party to throw their support behind the coalition.
Among them was former Selangor MIC Youth chief P Punithan, who has been appointed deputy chairman of PN’s Indian community committee – formed to allow Indians to voice their views and issues within the coalition.
Asked about Goh’s claim, Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara felt that Chinese politicians would not want to join Bersatu’s associate wing considering how Gerakan has fared in PN, adding that they “just could not do anything” with Bersatu or PAS.
Instead, Azmi said Chinese politicians who want to carve a name for themselves should instead throw their support behind DAP, a key force in Pakatan Harapan.
“I don’t think the narrative pointed out by this candidate (Goh) will work to get Chinese voters. I think it is better that the Chinese support the DAP as it is dominant in PH,” he said.
“Look at Gerakan. They have been given seats that are non-winnable, except for Bayan Lepas (Dominic Lau).
“But as a party, they are so docile, quiet and submissive to Bersatu and PAS. So what more if the Chinese join Bersatu as an associate member?”
Last week, Lau was asked to leave a PN ceramah in Sungai Dua, Penang, after showing up without being invited.
A video by Malaysiakini showed Lau being prevented by state PAS secretary Iszuree Ibrahim from following the party’s vice-president, Idris Ahmad, on stage.
PAS has issued an apology, which Lau has accepted.
However, the incident was criticised by DAP MPs who said that it has put PAS’ repeated claims of inclusivity into doubt.