MCA and Gerakan members during MCA-Gerakan "Stronger Together" assembly at Wisma MCA on January 6, 2018. Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

THE recent MCA and Gerakan tie-up could lead to both parties winning up to 20 parliamentary seats at the next elections, reports The Star today, citing two think-tanks.

MCA is expected to contest 40 parliamentary seats and 90 state seats while Gerakan is expected to vie for 45 parliamentary seats in the 14th general election, according the Centre for Public Policy Studies, which is funded by The Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli).

Disgruntled MCA members, who stayed away in the 2013 elections, might vote this time, said research and business development director Lau Zheng Zhou.

The marginal seats most likely to fall back to Barisan Nasional include Raub, Selayang, Alor Star, Taiping, Beruas, Kampar, Gopeng, Kuantan and Gelang Patah.

MCA currently holds seven parliamentary and 11 state seats, while Gerakan holds two parliamentary and three state seats.

Although MCA is aiming to win up to 20 parliamentary seats, the “reference point” will be the 15 seats won in GE12 in 2008, Lau was quoted as saying.

MCA will exploit the weaknesses in some PKR seats, such as Selayang. Last August, Selayang MP William Leong resigned from his political bureau post over PKR’s cooperation with PAS.

Also vulnerable is Kuala Kubu Baru in Selangor, Lau said.

Both Chinese-majority BN components received just 15% of Chinese votes in the 2013 elections.

The parties are hoping for a swing of 25% to 30% in Chinese support, with a combined 15 to 20 seats between them, according to SEDAR Institute chief executive officer Lee Chun Hung.

The MCA-Gerakan rally last week is also “a statement of intent of both parties’ preparedness, focus and determination to regain political prominence”, he said.

Other analysts, however, said the pact between MCA and Gerakan will not likely regain Chinese-Malaysian votes for the ruling coalition as their leaders have failed to address core concerns, such as corruption and abuse of power, mismanagement of the economy and rising cost of living.

“Every election, there will be similar kinds of unity events. They had it before the 2008 political tsunami, during (former Gerakan president) Dr Lim Keng Yaik’s time,” said Tan Seng Keat, manager of the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research.

“It’s a publicity stunt to show unity and to give a morale boost to their election machinery in the lead up to the 14th general election,”   Tan said.

Chinese-Malaysians contributed 50.21% or 2.92 million votes of the popular votes won by the now-defunct opposition bloc Pakatan Rakyat in 2013.

The BN component parties’ traditional opponent, DAP, won 38 out of 51 parliamentary seats and 95 out of 103 state seats it contested.

DAP also wrested Penang from Gerakan in 2008 and retained the state in 2013. Gerakan controlled Penang between 1969 and 2008.

– https://www.themalaysianinsight.com