Posted in PRU13

Will Malays vote MCA in GE13?

Almost one-third of the 40 Parliament seats contested by the MCA in the last general election were in Malay-majority areas. The MCA had stood in 13 Malay-majority constituencies in 2008 — see table below.



The Malay lifeline gave MCA altogether nine seats, if not for which the Chinese party would have suffered a washout.

But that was five years ago. The MCA stock now has few takers from the Chinese community. It has greatly dipped in value among the Malays too.

The recent development over the Bentong seat raises some questions. Currently the Bentong electoral roll has 46 percent Chinese, 43 percent Malays and 9 percent Indians. Given this demography, would it actually be a safer bet to field an Umno, rather than an MCA candidate for Parliament?


Three other seats can also serve to illustrate a similar predicament arising from the loss of confidence in the MCA.

Padang Serai

Is there any reason at all why BN should not give Padang Serai to the MIC to contest instead of to the MCA?

MIC LogoPadang Serai in Kedah is a Malay-majority Parliament constituency which has a 22.3 percent Indian electorate. This figure is just a hair’s breadth away from the total of 22.6 percent Chinese voters.

In 2008, Padang Serai was lost by ­­Datuk Boey Chin Gan (MCA) to N. Gobalakrishnan (PKR).

The general consensus is that Indian support has returned to BN whereas the Chinese vote has moved even further away from the ruling party.

Wangsa Maju

Another notable seat lost by the MCA in GE12 was Wangsa Maju, a 52.5 percent Malay-majority area.

The present incumbent Wee Choo Keong is popular with the Malays partly due to his Kelantan origin. Wee had won the seat on a PKR ticket by a slim margin of 150 votes but later turned independent in May 2010.

His probable challenger is Yew Teong Look of the MCA who has continued to service the area despite his 2008 loss. Yew is known to the Chinese ground as a diligent worker and is most likely to receive the nod again from his party.

Meanwhile PKR is tipped to field Dr Tan Tee Kwong, a former Deputy Land and Cooperative Development Minister and ex-Gerakan man.


Wangsa Maju is an interesting proposition in the light of the Pandan imbroglio. If the leaks are to be believed, BN chairman Najib Razak may go over the head of the MCA selection committee to (re)nominate former MCA president Ong Tee Keat to defend the seat.

Since Ong does not have the endorsement of his own party, he would be a direct BN candidate if he were to stand in Pandan.

A precedent had been set by P. Kamalanathan in the 2010 Hulu Selangor by-election. The MIC’s choice was its then deputy president G. Palanivel but this recommendation was overridden by the BN war room. Palanivel had narrowly lost by 198 votes to PKR’s Zainal Abidin Ahmad earlier in the March 8, 2008 general election.

The same procedure of the high command (read: Umno) bypassing the BN satellite nomination might apply to Wee Choo Keong if MCA is considered unmarketable.

Khalid makes special appearances at Bukit Lanjan

Bandar Tun Razak

Khalid Ibrahim, who is Ijok state assemblyman, is concurrently holding the Bandar Tun Razak seat. The Selangor Menteri Besar is reputedly unpopular with his Federal Territory constituents.

Despite it being a Malay-majority seat (52.7%), BN had put up an MCA candidate here in 2008.

In Malay-majority mixed areas, the tsunami wave which was in favour of Chinese opposition candidates had conversely run counter to the established Chinese political figures. Thus an MCA top gun Tan Chai Ho – three-term MP cum MCA Federal Territory chairman – lost his bid for Bandar Tun Razak.

In parallel, fellow MCA big name Deputy Home Minister Fu Ah Kiow lost to PKR’s Fuziah Salleh in Kuantan, another Malay-majority area.


End of BN shelf life

The defeat of both MCA stalwarts in Bandar Tun Razak and Kuantan reflected a trend where Chinese voters – 39.5% and 35.9% respectively in the two constituencies – rejected the BN Chinese component party while at the same time Malay voters opted for a same race opposition candidate.

MCA’s failure in GE12 signalled an unravelling of the BN formula.

The BN quid pro quo is necessarily made to work for the MIC because there are no outright Indian-majority Parliament seats. The one with the highest percentage of Indians is Kota Raja, Selangor with roughly 28 percent Indian voters.

In return for their delivery of Indian votes, the MIC are guaranteed a quota of seats. The BN branding ensures that supporters of the coalition will cast their ballots across ethnic lines.

The MCA however failed to hold up to its end of this communal bargaining arrangement when in 2008, Chinese voters in the peninsula refused to tick the dacing symbol.

Despite the MCA still managing to collect a clutch of Malay-majority seats, more Malay voters were themselves visibly wavering in faith.

Thus in the Parliamentary constituencies of Bandar Tun Razak, Kuantan, Hulu Selangor, Kota Raja and Teluk Kemang as well as in the state seats of Lunas and Pasir Panjang among others, the BN’s Chinese and Indian candidates lost to the Malay opposition.

Not many today believe there is much chance for the MCA to regain their foothold. Unlike in the GE12, this time the party’s free fall will no longer be arrested by the Malay pro-Umno voters.

Part 2 will explore the several factors causing the MCA to stumble


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42 thoughts on “Will Malays vote MCA in GE13?

  1. I’m pro-BN but every time the MCA behaved and sang the same tune as DAP in order to impress the Chinese community, it puts me(a Malay) off from ticking the ‘dacing’ symbol. You’ve got it right spot on, the MCA stock has “greatly dipped in value among the Malays too”.

  2. This is the kind of post, I look forward to. Can’t wait for part 2.

    All I can say is, this is the problem with racial politics.

    The subtext of the question really is, will UMNO give a chance to the Malays to vote for the MCA is the next GE ?

    UMNO is the gatekeeper after all. The answer to this determines if the “go at it alone” policy of UMNO’s neo- ketuanan Melayu hawks has become party dogma.

    Commander S. Thayaparan (rtd) [who seems to be missing from Mkini] wrote the best line on racial politics, I have come across in a long time.

    “Racial politics is a bitch. And apparently an unforgiving one”.

    1. “will UMNO give a chance to the Malays to vote for the MCA in the next GE?”

      I think PM Najib end game is to get 2/3 majority. This is to ensure his own survival. It is not the time to “give chance” to anybody. Everbody must pull their own weight.

      If I’m PM Najib I will put winnable candidate regardless of race. Unfortunately as at now “majority race in the constituent” is the winnable candidate.

      Difficult choice for PM Najib but I’m sure he will make the right one. Politics is his bread and butter after all.

  3. More like a problem with MCA and MIC.

    Malays have no problem voting non Malay candidates as long as they run under BN. If they don’t, it’s because they have a problem with dacing as a whole, not because they don’t want a Chinese MCA guy. On the other hand, I think there’s one election where PAS or PKR told voters it’s not islamic to vote in an Indian over their Malay Muslim candidate. Would it be UMNO fault too if BN fielded non Malay candidates and lost due to that?

    It’s racial politics, as always. The Chinese voting tendencies really showed that.
    But noo, let’s blame the Malays and UMNO. I like how non Malays go on about Ketuanan Melayu while at the same time wanting UMNO to keep trusting Malay majority seats to MCA.

    Let’s see how Bentong turns out. Maybe the Chinese have no problems voting in some flip flop Chinese who wants to burn things, maybe not.

    1. “I like how non Malays go on about Ketuanan Melayu while at the same time wanting UMNO to keep trusting Malay majority seats to MCA.”

      Well to be fair, racial politics and “wanting UMNO to keep trusting Malay majority seats to MCA” which is another way of saying Ketuanan Melayu is one and the same.

      PR is playing the same game though, so it is not really a question of who is claiming the moral high ground but rather who is playing the game better and winning the propaganda war.

      Now DAP apparanchiks always like to say that DAP is multiracial but that’s a lie and PR is all for Ketuanan Rakyat, which merely means that people voting across racial lines is indicative of Bangsa Malaysia spirit whereas in UMNO/BN is it playing the “racial game”.

      The fault of course is ours. Nobody seems interested in changing the dynamic and the only thing PR is doing is repackaging it.

      1. Well, if they really believe Ketuanan Melayu is so negative and oppressive then why even take for granted and expect that Malay majority areas to be represented by non Malays in the first place? Is that not strange? Why shouldn’t MCA and MIC just be candidates in non Malay majority areas then?

        What do you see behind the Pakatan Rakyat packaging?
        Specifically the real relationship between the 3 parties.

        1. If by “they” you mean MCA and MIC, then they should not accept UMNO’s “ketuanan” to be fielded in Malay majority areas which is predicated on them delievering the Non Malay votes in areas which have sizeable Non Malay populations.

          So the MCA should bench themsleves since they have lost the support of the Chinese community and not depend on the lifeline from UMNO.

          However without the fig leaf of Non Malay representation, UMNO would have an even harder time pushing its 1Malaysia concept here and abroad.Up against the propaganda of Bangsa Malaysia, it would be even more damaging.

          I doubt the Chinese moneymen who fund UMNO would abandon them en masse but would continue to hedge their bets.

          The worst example of the Ketuanan Malayu dynamic in the context of Non Malays in Malay majority areas (in this example an MIC rep, which is kind of cheating but why not) is Kamalnathan, whose hand kissing symbolized the ethnic subjugation of an entire community.

          “What do you see behind the Pakatan Rakyat packaging?
          Specifically the real relationship between the 3 parties.”

          What PR is offering is the same racial formula sans the participation of Indians. The only reason why this is possible is because over the years, the MCA has been derelict in its duties in fighting for “Chinese” rights. PKR/PAS have managed to harness the class agigation of the Malay community, focusing it through religion (PAS) or the moderate third way (PKR). The latter has very little substance.

          Even the whole Bangsa Malaysia kool aid is merely a refinement of the 1Malaysia concept, and I would argue has roots in LKY Malaysian Malaysia concept or whatever he was babling on about.

          As for the relationships between the three ? The same as in BN,except the dialectic is different merely because they operating without the burden of actually having to substantiate their rethoric.

          1. re: “hand kissing symbolized the ethnic subjugation of an entire community”

            Granted the Kamalanathan photo turned out ‘badly’.

            However, cium tangan is so much a fabric of the Malay community, and it is done by instinct and most naturally.

            I cium tangan my ex-boyfriend’s mother. I still do it to this day when I visit her during Hari Raya.

            In fact, I wish that the Chinese had this culture so that I could cium tangan my (late) mom.

            There are traditions we should cherish and this is one of them.

          2. Eh, 2 people can see the same event and make totally conflicting conclusions. Just more arguing fodder.

            It’s even more likely if you choose to focus on a singular event.
            Also depends on your previous beliefs and innate bias and convictions.

            For example, Miss Helen admits liking the cium tangan tradition but it’s possible some people would say that Miss Helen is cina murtad, wannabe Melayu like Ridhuan Tee, etc.

            People’s position would also affect what would people remember and choose to leave out.
            This seems pretty obvious though, should I even talk about this?

            People can talk of whatever lofty ideals they are supposed to fight for, but in the end I think we should all just think about what we basically want and what others basically want. It would be best if people could see that in the names of their organisation.

            Do I believe in PKR really wanting keadilan for rakyat? Do I still think PAS still wants Islam for Malaysia? Do I believe that DAP is party that values democratic action? I don’t really know, but I really doubt very much.

            I do want in a united Malay organisation though. Does that make me racist or something?

      2. Sorry to go at a tangent Conrad.

        Ketuanan Melayu is about The Agong and the Sultans not any Dolah, Mat or Yusof being the tuan. This should be understood by every Malaysian citizen regardless.

        Tunku, Razak, Hussain, Mahathir, Pak Lah and Najib is not the tuan, they were the Prime Ministers.

        1. I wish more people would recognize your interpretation, but the problem is that partisans use this concept as a free for all, either ascribing or excluding “rights” depending on the agenda involved.

          1. I do believe Shamshul Anuar when he tells us that the ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ terminology is a phrase that rarely crosses the lips of a Malay, i.e. it’s not something Malays talk about in the way that it’s often discussed by the DAP evangelista leaders.

            However, the Malays do possess a sense of entitlement (after all, the land was called Tanah Melayu in 1948) or sense of placeness which is not as pronounced in the non-Malays.

            Personally I do not think that the various races are blessed with equal citizenship. But I do give deeper thought as to why rather than just lashing out like the Dapsters are doing now.

            It’s for this reason that I believe we should set aside whatever personal animus we have against Dr M and take his statements objectively and seriously b’cos he’s probably the most influential man in the country, ahead of the sitting PM even.

  4. I disagree with Conrad on the term that UMNO is the gatekeeper. differ from the PR coalition, BN has its official committee in discussing this issue and not another party deciding for the other like what happening in PR recently over fighting of seat which seem winnable to them.

    I’m not denying that PR might also have official committee but when everyone starting shouting for a seat until DAP push a gag order (i repeat DAP and not PR), then it stop. To me it is like DAP is the gatekeeper here.

    1. I have no problem with your contention that DAP may be the gatekeeper for PR however I do think there is more than enough evidence to support the idea that UMNO is the gatekeeper for BN

          1. The non Malays always have a problem with UMNO leading BN, I wonder what do the Malay Pakatan supporters feel about DAP having the most representative power in their Pakatan.

            There should be something, PAS is Malay, don’t know about PKR, Anwar and his family just confuses me, as for DAP they have really few but they seem to be just going on along with whatever the Lims decide.

  5. Nobody will deny your assessment and observation because this is the reality today.

    MCA has to rebrand itself… a new wine in a new bottle.. or its end in nigh.

  6. UMNO and DAP will win big this time. If BERJASA really serious in their plan to contest in Malay majority which not contest by UMNO or PAS, malay vote will go to them. There is possibility that two parties system (by races) will happen this time.

    1. I accepted BN’s multi racial formula and hope BN won’t fall apart and result in this prediction.

      A 2 party formula with one Malay and one Chinese is just foolish.
      Besides, there are other races in Malaysia.

      The problem now is how would BN win 2/3 majority.
      Seems like everybody thinks the Chinese would vote DAP.

      Big problem man, why would BN put up candidates who would likely lose? But, can they trust MCA and can they hope for BN voting non Chinese to trust MCA as well?

  7. Helen, you are back in the limelight not that you need it but RPK carried your article.

    I wonder why now with this when you have been making sense all these while for close to two years in your own blog ? Maybe he just discovered your sense and sensibility in addressing the truth and reality without the typical we know it all Malaysians?

    Whatever ever it is, as long as truth has a platform to emerge for what is the reality without the I know it all syndrome. Truth is permanent with an arable ability to evolve when we are ready to accept it for the reality, not an illusion that we anticipate with an expectation.

    Helen, you are a blessing in disguise for truth to survive.

    1. Thanks MiNY.

      Just my guess as to why Raja Petra has not been featuring my articles:

      I believe the neglect is to protect me from harassment by the cybertroopers who stalk M2Day. If any of my articles were to be aggregated there, the troopers will come out in full force (like the way they do each time he features Joceline Tan) and doing their usual thuggery.

      This particular piece will not wave a red flag at the Dapster bull because there is no mention of the DAP or any of its leaders plus it puts under scrutiny the MCA with negative implications.

      And below is an example of how the Dapsters are egged on by their icons:


      1. Helen , I really don’t worry about DAP and their agenda because you can’t substitute truth and reality. You don’t need FB or twitter to justify this, because the truth is what your life is with a tangible sense not how someone else needs to live their life in a intangible platform. Truth and reality has no substitute when we are ready to accept it. I think u have been real in this aspect and I do appreciate it.

      2. who is more absurd ? I think I may have the answer. a dimwit with over 60k followers and every time she tweets something her followers go like “Hannah ! Hannah ! Hannah !”.

  8. I actually feel sorry for MCA. To me MCA represents liberal Chinese. DAP on the other hand represents ultra-kiasu Chinese. The fact that most Chinese in Malaysia supports DAP proved that most are kiasu.

    At the back of most Malays’ mind: “If ever they got power, they will not hesitate to squash the Malays. Penang and Singapore Govt are good examples.”

    With the shouting of DAP cyber-bullies everywhere, gag here gag there, sue here sue there. Complain, complain, complain. Do you blame the Malays for being wary?

    The louder the shouts of DAP cyber-bullies to remove Malay’s special rights, abolish NEP, blaming the police and army over everything, misunderstanding and ridiculing “ketuanan Melayu”.. the more wary the Malay gets.

    Unless the Chinese prove that they are not DAP lovers by voting MCA and thus by association are not ultra-kiasu, these feelings of wariness among the Malays will not go away no matter how you want to spin it.

    So to answer Helen’s question “Will Malays vote for MCA in GE13?”

    Maybe not if there is other Malay candidate in the balloting sheet.

    1. Maybe in other states, but not in Johor. Majority of Johor Malays understand that for the good of the country, Chinese representation in government is a necessity, and they will choose to make sure MCA survive GE13 to continue representing the Chinese community as DAP and what it stands for is unpalatable to them.

      1. Agree with you that Johoreans of all races are thankfully more sane. Not a coincidence that Onn Jaafar hailed from the state.

  9. Speaking as a Johorean (I’d be voting in Kluang, by birthplace), I see that most of my non-Malay schoolmates are staunch Pakatan supporters. Indians are divided though.

    1. I see. The perpetual hysteria has reached the southernmost tip of the peninsula. Conquest complete.

      1. Helen,

        They said the truth hurts. An the truth is that MCA is so afraid to tell outright to the Chinese that hostility towards Malays will naturally backfire.

        For a start, what is it about “ketuanan Melayu” , a seldom talked concept even among malays, that really riles the Chinese. No need for malays to claim “ketuanan this or ketuanan that’. In fact, I have not heard that phrase uttered by malays themselves.

        Secondly, the goodwill is coming to it end. malays may not say it out loud but behaviours of many chinese politicians are disgusting. Those from DAP bahaves like “yahudi”.

        I believe it is better MCA contests in Chinese majority areas only. Lock horn with DAP. It will forced Chinese community to choose whether they want to be part of govt or vote themselves out of govt.

  10. Re: “I do want in a united Malay organization though. Does that make me racist or something?”

    I dunno’. As someone who has been called racists because of my support of Hindraf, the term (racist) has become meaningless. As for “something”, unfortunately there may be some truth in whatever that “something” is . The perils of playing the race game I suppose.

    I have argued that the term “racist” [in a system that defines its citizens along ethnic lines] only applies to those who support ideas that exclude because of race and not those who demand inclusivity because of it. Your mileage may vary, though.

    Re: “It would be best if people could see that in the names of their organization”

    As someone who has seen very little good come out of united Malays in association with Chinese Malaysians , what I basically want is a socialist party. But then again, every party claims they represent these lofty socialist ideals one way or another.

    1. Hum hum…who might these Chinese Malaysians be?

      I don’t know why Hindraf supporters would be called racist, they champion the Hindu cause right?

      The Indonesians just had Hindu Raya Nyepi last Tuesday, in Indonesia you have Hindus who look like Malays.

      I don’t think they have temples all over though.

      1. “Hum hum…who might these Chinese Malaysians be?”

        Read in context of polo’s rather witty comment.

        “I don’t know why Hindraf supporters would be called racist, they champion the Hindu cause right?”

        No, not really.

  11. In my hometown, it has always been between DAP & MCA with the occasional Bebas Malay thrown in to split the malay votes. I have never voted DAP.

    The MCA people can be seen around with plenty of the Umno workers since i live in a largely malay area. But the DAP knows they can win easily, so they couldn’t even be bothered to come around to my kampung to meet the locals.

    So when Helen writes of DAP’s arrogance, I can relate really well. And I can righteously accuse them of being a chauvinistic, racist and arrogant party who will never, ever, ever get my and my family’s and my kampung’s votes. I think for most of us this time around its about supporting the BN government after the 2008 PR winning Perak fiasco.

  12. Re:”….. i.e. it’s not something Malays talk about in the way that it’s often discussed by the DAP evangelista leaders.”

    Not only the Evangelistas but also UMNO. The one good thing that has come out of PR/BN schism is that this term is open for debate. As I said, I think the term is vague enough to cover a whole range of issues, without ever having to use the term itself.

    Re: Paying attention to Mahathir

    It would unwise not to pay attention to this predator. It’s a political jungle out there.

    1. Okay, I’ll take you up on it.

      Say you provide 3 links where prominent Umno pollies have discussed ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ and I’ll give the articles a once-over.

      1. Before that please define “how DAP evangelist leaders talk about it”.

        It would be constructive if we are on the same page before we go into a definitonal tangent.

          1. These two polemical pieces are just examples of the over the top
            kool aid that the DAP brews but I get where you are coming from.

            Here is an example of how Mahathir talks about Ketuanan Melayu.


            Now the piece is problematic for me for a couple of reasons. As usual it sets up a false dichotomy – the us vs. them narrative – but also very subtly implies that the Malays are under a process of neo colonialism.

            The usual not respecting Malay institutions (here he does not define what those institutions are but others have defined it as the administrative branches of the government) is thrown in and the spiel of how the Malays have to regain power even though the split in the community for all intents does not necessarily mean that they are losing power.

            I know I supposed to offer up three but it’s getting late.

  13. I perceived myself as those on “atas pagar”… so from what I’ve read..MCA needs to buckle support to BN or pack themselves out from BN… the time for them to suck the honey yet bites back the owner like a shameless doggie is long overdue now…

    MCA is really not functioning I guess… and I hope they will hold on to their promise to pack their bags from the cabinet if they are not performing well in PRU13…

    1. How do you expect them to function when their coalition partner is saying and doing an entirely different thing? The left hand does things totally different than the right hand.

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