KUALA LUMPUR – Political parties need to address issues on the Malay rights and race if they want to win elections in Malaysia, a forum was told today.
Merdeka Centre’s Ibrahim Suffian pointed out that such topics influence 37 per cent of the Malay electorate and how they would vote for which party.
“Meeting communal interests also is very high. Case of Malay voters more than half factors in communal rights.
“For the average Malay voter, concern for race and religious topics are very high. It is not just propaganda but also has been a part of political history. It has been there since the World War,” he said during the ‘Multi-Cornered contests: Bane or Boon?’ Forum today.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Head of Asian Studies Centre Faizal S. Hazis also agreed with this view and said the Opposition especially should start speaking more on Malay rights.
He explained that previously in 2011, Pakatan Rakyat’s “Buku Jingga” used to touch on Malay policies but was abandoned by the coalition soon after.
“There is a need to address Malay narratives. Buku Jingga when it was first launched, addresses these Malay policies.
“If you look at several Malay seats, Umno played up the racial card a lot. Absence of Malay narrative part from the Opposition caused them the seats ,” Faisal said.
He reasoned that there might reluctance from the current Opposition bloc to touch on Malay policies as it goes against their push for new age politics, especially by the DAP.
“The Opposition is riding on a wave of new politics, the inclusivity and multi-ethnic politics. It would be untrendy to push Malay agenda among the wave of this new politics.
“Maybe there is a push from coalition partners like DAP for example, not to bring up Malay agenda,” Faisal said.
This factor, Johan Saravanamuttu from Singapore’s Rajaratnam school of international studies at Nanyang Technological University would especially be crucial in the next elections if the current redelineation exercise takes place.
He stressed that since the current redelineation of seats was aimed at more ethnic-based seats, speaking about the Malay narrative by political parties would help garner votes.
“The 2017 redelineation is cresting more ethnic seats. The Elections Commission has created more ethnic majority seats, especially in Selangor,” Johan said.
Ibrahim however said political parties still did have a chance of swaying votes without playing up the Malay narrative if they focus on issues that are directly affecting the people.
– Malay Mail