The race between DAP and MCA in Malacca

IN the 14th general election, DAP won eight seats in the Malacca assembly, wiping out MCA after defeating the Barisan Nasional (BN) component in six of the seats it contested.

Among the Pakatan Harapan (PH) parties, DAP is the largest party in the assembly, with seven seats now after one assemblyman quit last year.

Political analyst Mazlan Ali feels the pattern of defeat for MCA is expected to hold in the upcoming snap poll, following the collapse of the state government and the dissolution of the assembly.

The Universiti Teknologi Malaysia academic said Chinese voters are likely to pick PH and DAP over BN and MCA, or even Perikatan Nasional.

Another likely factor is that Chinese voters are probably still angry with MCA for participating in the Sheraton Move that saw the collapse of the PH federal government last year, after 22 months in power.

Demographically, Mazlan added, 80% of Chinese voters – living in urban areas – are more exposed, analytical and well-versed in the country’s politics.

“Whereas 60% of Malays, as they are in the rural areas, are like ‘subjects’. If they vote for Umno, they will vote for Umno forever.

“There are also other races like this, but they are a minority.”

Malacca is gearing up for a snap poll after four assemblymen announced on October 4 that they had lost confidence in Chief Minister Sulaiman Md Ali and withdrew support for him.

The four are former chief minister Idris Haron (Sungai Udang-BN), Nor Azman Hassan (Pantai Kundor-BN), Noor Effandi Ahmad (Telok Mas-PN) and Norhizam Hassan Baktee (Pengkalan Batu-Ind).

Their withdrawal caused Sulaiman to lose his majority in the 28-seat assembly, and Malacca Governor Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam subsequently dissolved the legislative body on Sulaiman’s advice.

State elections must now be held in the next 60 days but critics are calling for an emergency for fear that the polls will cause another Covid-19 wave of infections, as it did in Sabah last year.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government is waiting to hear Deputy Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah’s views before deciding whether to propose an emergency.

The rebellion leaves Sulaiman with support from 12 assemblymen (11 BN, one Bersatu), while the opposition has 15 seats (11 PH plus the four rebels).

In the 2018 polls, DAP defeated MCA in Bemban, Bandar Hilir, Duyong, Kota Laksamana, Kesidang and Ayer Keroh.

In the other two seats, DAP faced MIC and Gerakan. In the Gadek seat, DAP won by a narrow majority of 307 over MIC.

In the Pengkalan Batu seat, DAP defeated Gerakan by a 2,756-vote majority. However, Norhizam, who contested on a DAP ticket, quit in 2020 to become an independent in support of BN.

A closer look at the six seats where DAP beat MCA in 2018:

1. Bemban

The Bemban seat was held by MCA for three consecutive terms from 2004 to 2013 before it lost the seat to DAP’s Wong Fort Pin in 2018, who won with a majority of 1,345 votes. Of the18,393 registered voters, 61% are Malays, 22% are Chinese and 16% are Indians.

2. Bandar Hilir

Bandar Hilir is a seat that has been held by DAP for four consecutive terms since 2004. This seat has an overwhelming number of Chinese voters who make up 77% of the 20,990 registered voters. In 2018, MCA only won a meagre 2,725 votes compared to 14,038 votes for DAP’s Tey Kok Kiew a majority of 11,313.

3. Duyong

The Duyong seat was held by MCA 2004 and 2008 but it lost the seat to DAP in 2013. DAP’s Damian Yeo successfully defended the seat in 2018 winning with a 2,895 vote majority. Duyong is a Malay-predominant area where 60% of its 18,110 registered voters are Malay, while 35% are Chinese and only 5% are Indians.

4. Kota Laksamana

Kota Laksamana has been a DAP stronghold since 2004 and is 85% Chinese. DAP’s majority in this area has consistently increased in each election.

In 2004, DAP’s Betty Chew won with a majority of 3,642 votes, and in 2018, Low Chee Leong won with a majority of 16,173 compared to MCA’s 4,008 votes.

5. Kesidang

DAP won this seat from MCA in 2013. In 2018, it won again with a large majority of 14,612. With 37,355 registered voters, 57% are Chinese, 37% Malay, 5% Indian and 1% others.

6. Ayer Keroh

MCA lost the Ayer Keroh seat to DAP in 2008 and has not been able to wrestle it back since. DAP’s candidate, Kerk Chee Yee, won by a 9,261 majority in 2018. There are 51% Chinese voters out of 25,407 registered voters, 40% Malay, 8% Indian and 1% other.