The fact that non-Malay elected representatives form a majority in Selangor’s ruling bloc for the first time is a troubling reality for the alliance of Pakatan Harapan and Peace Nasional (PH-BN), which has spent the last nine months trying to banish its reputation for rejection. by Malay voters.
The result also urged supporters to go out and vote or face the possibility of winning the Perikatan Nasional (PN) currently PH-ruled states, after an intense online campaign by PH sympathizers before polling stations closed on 12 August.
The last time Selangor was dominated by non-Malays in the legislature was in the 1969 election, when the National Alliance led by BN, Umno-led National Alliance’s Chinese-dominated DAP and Gerakan drew 14-14 as an independent candidate.
The alliance then succeeded in forming a government only with the sole independent on its side, but the racially charged post-election climate later triggered one of the country’s worst racial revolts.
However, the 1969 election results were against a background where the majority ethnic group in Selangor, which had a population of about 1.6 million at the time, was Chinese.
Statistics from 1970 showed that in Selangor the Chinese were about 46%, the Malays 35% and the Indians 18%.
Interstate immigration, high birth rates, and the opening of new counties saw the Malay steadily become the majority race by the early 1980s.
According to the 2020 census, 60.6% of the population of 6.4 million are Malays, followed by the Chinese with 27.3% and the Indians with 11.3%.
While this racial distribution is highly reflected in the state legislature – 38 of the 56 councilors, or about 68%, are Malay – the majority of them are not in the ruling bloc.
Of the 34 PH-BN councilors, only 16 are Malay.
Meanwhile, PN’s 22 councilors form the largest Malay opposition bloc in Selangor history.
The closest comparison was that BN lost Selangor in the 2008 election, knocking 18 Malay councilors from Umno to the rostrum. Umno’s share was reduced to 12 in 2013 and just four in 2018.
In these three elections, PH had a strong Malay partner in several ways: PAS in 2008 and 2013 and Bersatu in 2018.
This was not the case last Saturday, when Umno, defeated by PN in last year’s general election, managed to secure only two seats after losing to the Bersatu and PAS candidates; this situation was repeated in Penang, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.
scramble for posts
The outcome of the elections in Selangor, whose racial demographics are broadly reflective of the country, will complicate efforts to combat the perception that the PH-BN alliance has come to power with the support of non-Malays.
All eyes will be on DAP and how he manages his dominance in Selangor.
Just before the elections, the party requested the spokesmanship, saying it was in exchange for the Dusun Tua seat being given to an Umno candidate. It was one of two seats represented by a DAP Malay councilor.
The positional contention in the 12 local councils in Selangor will also be watched, where the ruling parties are usually assigned as councillors.
This time, the party, including Umno, will likely seek greater representation in local councils, which could raise goosebumps among NGOs and activists who hold the party accountable for past violations.
Meanwhile, questions remain as to why the PN did not get more seats in Selangor despite the large Malay population, a segment that strongly supports the coalition.
For now, the obvious answer lies in the 72% turnout in Selangor.
A larger turnout of Malay voters last weekend could see PN gain more seats in the state, particularly in densely populated semi-urban and urban seats where Malay voters are large.
PN chief Muhyiddin Yassin also acknowledged this, saying that if there was more participation, the coalition could have taken over the state.
While there is no definitive method for measuring turnout based on race, PH supporters have launched an intense online campaign since 2008 to get the Chinese, seen as the coalition’s coffers, to go out and vote.
As hourly statistics showed low turnout in some major cities with large Chinese voters, several PH leaders and supporters filled social media with viral messages and graphics, mostly written in Chinese, encouraging people to vote.
Even academic Wong Chin Huat, who has branded himself as an independent political analyst, uploaded a Facebook post claiming that “Chinese and Indian voters are showing noticeably low turnout.”
“Get ready for Selangor and Negeri Sembilan to look more like Kedah after tonight,” said Wong, who later got into intense discussions with netizens who criticized her post for panicking.
“Why should you prepare yourself?” asked for a comment, and Wong, referring to popular Kedah PAS leader Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, said, “Just because you like Sanusi, I can’t even support such a possibility?” “Do you remember why we were created differently?” asked.
Others, such as the controversial DAP spokesperson Hew Kuan Yaw, were actively campaigning and repeatedly warning that the “green wave” would come to power.
“If there is an average growth rate of 5% per hour, the average voter turnout in the five provinces excluding Kelantan should exceed 70%, hehehehe,” he said in one of his many posts warning that more Malays are coming out of China.
Meanwhile, DAP’s Subang Jaya candidate, Michelle Ng, urged people to watch if their fingers are smeared with ink to show that those around them voted.
“If you’ve voted and gone out to lunch, please observe and tell those with clean hands and get them to go out and vote,” he said in a video released at 1 p.m. on election day.
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