MCA is moderately safe only in 7-8 Parliament seats, according to intelligence. Yup, only in the Malay-majority areas.
It is expected to take a knocking in Johor where the DAP tidal wave has swept ashore. The recent slap in the face for Chua Soi Lek in his home state – represented by the Chinese walkout at the Kulai mega dinner – is a harbinger of the painful snub to come.
In minutes 0:25-0:35 and 1:05-1:20 of the video clip, many diners having done with the MCA ‘free’ food can be seen (at the back of the picture frame) leaving the venue when Dr Chua is delivering his speech.
DAP hungry for more
Let’s first look at some tabulated headcount (table below). In GE12, MCA received 840,489 votes compared to 1,118,025 for DAP.
Former head of the MCA research unit Stanley Koh reveals that MCA had claimed it was going into the GE12 polling day with 1,300,000 members. (Guess MCA forgot to dust its dinos from their museum showcases.)
However even if every single one of the 840,489 ballots was cast for MCA by party members, it still meant that roughly 460,000 MCA members – if we accept the 1.3 million membership roll – did not bother to vote on 8 March 2008.
But we know that the 840,489 votes did not all come from the purported MCA vote bank. They derive in part from Malays and Indians. Just as we know that the 1.12 million votes for DAP came from Chinese as all its Parliament seats were won in Chinese-majority areas (see footnote).
DAP beachhead in Johor
DAP managed to wrest Bakri from MCA the last election. DAP will retain this Johor parliament seat in GE13.
Johor DAP chief Dr Boo Cheng Hau holds the Skudai state seat. Skudai is in the Gelang Patah parliamentary constituency. Dr Boo might move from state to parliament here.
Comparing the 2004 with the 2008 results, the votes for MCA in Gelang Patah shrunk by about a quarter while the votes for the opposition increased three-fold. Given its large Chinese electorate of roughly 55 percent, DAP is confident of wresting this seat.
Johor: MCA’s last redoubt
One factor mitigating against the DAP onslaught on Johor is the lure of development in the form of the Iskandar Economic Region, the southern corridor and the Singapore spillover effect. But still, the Chinese amok mood seems implacable.
The Kluang parliamentary seat has a large Chinese voter segment similar to Gelang Patah — between 52 and 54 percent. While MCA won it comfortably in 2004 with a majority of 18,698, in 2008 it only managed a hugely reduced majority of 3,781. The DAP candidate, Ng Lam Hua in both GE editions, gained some 10,000 additional votes in 2008 from 2004.
Kulai – where Dr Chua was slighted at the mega dinner – is currently held by MCA past president Ong Ka Ting and has approximately 60 percent Chinese voters.
Johor is quite a happy camping ground for the MCA presidents: Lee San Choon (ex-Segamat Selatan MP), Neo Yee Pan (ex-Muar MP) and Ling Liong Sik (ex-Labis MP).
Labis is a mixed seat won by Dr Chua in 2004 and by his son Tee Yong in 2008. It’s a seat that the MCA cannot afford to lose lest such a loss signals a complete rout. Although optimistic, DAP is not banking on Labis as a certainty. Chua Jr (on whom my bloggers friends gave positive reviews when they went to the ground to cover the Tenang by-election) is fairly likely to live another day.
Tanjong Piai is interesting for its racial breakdown: Malay 50 percent, Chinese 49 percent, and its voter ethnic balance promising to be a litmus test.
The table above shows that most of the MCA Parliament seats were won in Malay-majority areas.
In fact, many of the MCA wards are so Malay tinged that the MCA faced off two PAS candidates in Ayer Itam and in Tebrau. Both the wins over PAS (Husin Sujak, Roslani Sharif) were in the BN bedrock of Johor.
In 6 other seats, MCA also beat Malay candidates — PKR’s Suwardi Sapuan, Azman Marjohan, Syed Shahir, Zaliha Mustafa, and DAP’s Ahmad Ton and Abu Bakar Sudin.
All in all, out of MCA’s 15 Parliamentary seats, 9 were obtained through defeating Malay and Indian opponents. Similarly, out of MCA’s 15 Parliamentary seats, 9 are Malay-majority wards.
Sense & sensibility, Sex & stability
‘Stability above Chaos’ (要穩定，不要亂) was the MCA theme at its AGM and introduced in its current series of mega dinners.
However, instead of taking the MCA ‘Stability’ message to its 1.29 million readership, The Star chose instead to splash ‘Sex sells’ by featuring bloggers Alvin and Vivian on its front pages as well as devoting at least two dozen stories to the sex partner-swapping couple, thus totally eclipsing the concurrent MCA proceedings.
It was a subtle act of sabotage by The Star against MCA.
Although the slogan simply sounds dinosaur-ish to first-time voters, the rationale behind ‘[reject] Chaos’ might make sense to older Malaysians and those who think having madu tiga (three Deputy Prime Ministers) will create unnecessary havoc.
‘Buy Star, read Rocket’
DAP has been actively registering young Chinese to vote whereas MCA has not. DAP has been hyperactive in the social media whereas the MCA old guard are still watching RTM news on their black-and-white TV sets.
MCA’s appeal of “wanting stability, don’t want chaos” is probably attuned to the racial tremors anticipated to arise during the Tanda Putera cinema run.
Nonetheless the MCA approach, alleged by its rivals to be scaremongering, may backfire among the defiant Chinese youth if what we saw the last round – ‘Facebook fury over May 13 film’ – provides any indication.
The DAPster generation are not fearful of hudud nor the Islamic state ‘bogey’.
Campaigns are normally fought on the 3’M’s-election complex: Money, Machinery, Media.
MCA has introduced a new twist to the ‘M’ equation — Magnanimity. The party is magnanimously spending money on its bipolar media machinery which surreptitiously promotes DAP. In allowing this, MCA is tacitly condoning The Star media campaign to cap the BN’s Johor citadel with a steeple*.
* steeple = church architecture of tower topped by spire
DAP victories in almost mono-racial Parliament seats:
Chong Chieng Jen — Kuching (91% Chinese voters)
Tan Seng Giaw — Kepong (90%)
Teresa Kok — Seputeh (90%)
Chow Kon Yeow — Tanjong (85%)
Tan Kok Wai — Cheras (84%)
Lim Kit Siang — Ipoh Timor (81%)
DAP Parliamentarians in 75-80 percent Chinese electorate seats
Fong Po Kuan — Batu Gajah
Tony Pua — Petaling Jaya Utara
Hiew King Chiew — Kota Kinabalu
Fong Kui Lun — Bukit Bintang
DAP Parliamentarians in 70-75 percent Chinese electorate seats (coincidentally all in Penang)
Lim Guan Eng — Bagan
Chong Eng — Bukit Mertajam
Liew Chin Tong — Bukit Bendera
Karpal Singh – Bukit Gelugor