MCA ‘rebirth’ bid fails in Balakong

Gan Pei Ling

Pakatan Harapan candidate Wong Siew Ki addressing the media after winning the Balakong seat yesterday by more than 18,000 votes against the MCA candidate. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, September 9, 2018.

MCA’S attempt to rejuvenate itself by being endorsed by Islamist party PAS and contesting under its own logo in the Balakong by-election in Selangor has failed, as voters continue to shun the Barisan Nasional component party, said political analysts.

MCA was only able to increase its vote share in the Chinese-majority seat marginally from 11% in the 14th general election to 15% yesterday.

Pakatan Harapan candidate Wong Siew Ki polled 22,508 votes compared with MCA’s Tan Chee Teong who got 3,975 votes, clinching the by-election with a convincing majority of 18,533 votes.

Out of the 62,219 voters in Balakong, 61% are Chinese, Malays (30%) and Indians (9%).

PH, also contesting under its own logo for the first time, won 72% to 92% of the votes in all polling districts, including Malay-majority areas like Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, Cheras Jaya and Desa Baiduri.

“The result proves our earlier prediction that MCA will not be able to win back Chinese voters’ support nor woo Malay votes if it contests with its own party logo,” said Southern University College Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences deputy dean, Dr Phoon Wing Keong.

He said the 15% vote share MCA garnered this time falls short of the 22.5% BN and PAS collectively polled in the May 9 general election.

PH polled 41,768 votes with PAS (6,230) and MCA (5,874) four months ago.

“MCA couldn’t prove that it could cut ties with Umno and it went as far as to cooperate with PAS to get Malay votes in this by-election. It has lost its basic moral principles. It’s worse than losing the by-election,” said Phoon.

Voters at SJK Batu 11 Cheras yesterday. The Balakong seat returns to Pakatan Harapan, which is using its own logo for the first time. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, September 9, 2018.

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan stumped for MCA in a ceramah earlier this week, a development that stunned former MCA Negri Sembilan chief Lim Chin Fui.

In stark contrast to MCA, PAS did better in the Seri Setia by-election yesterday by increasing its vote share from 10% to 42% – much higher than the BN and PAS combined vote share of 31% on May 9, Dr Wong Chin Huat from the Penang Institute said.

“This is not surprising at all considering PAS and Umno are ideologically closer. PAS and MCA have been opposing each other on the issues of Islamic state and hudud punishments for decades.

“A collaboration between MCA and PAS is bound to be seen as more of a marriage of convenience than the past alliance between DAP and PAS.

“Working with PAS will only expedite MCA’s demise. Working with Umno is similarly toxic, not just because Umno is a damaged brand, also because Umno is working closely with PAS,” said Wong.

If MCA wants to survive in the new political landscape, he said, the party must venture out on its own and its only realistic chance of rebirth is to contest in local elections in the future.

“MCA needs to fight for the rebirth of local elections to avoid its own death,” said Wong. – September 9, 2018.

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