Monday, 14 May 2012

Messages in a political survey — Lim Mun Fah

MAY 14 — About 100,000 Umno members and supporters in red shirts filled the National Stadium at Bukit Jalil recently to celebrate the party’s 66th anniversary. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak derided the Pakatan Rakyat, but did not attack Bersih, while offering seven reasons why people should support BN in the election. The move has strongly conveyed a message, namely the 13th general election might be coming soon.

Will the celebration, as the prime minister said, mean that Umno will win a brilliant victory in the next general election as a strong team? The answer might be yes or no. It is because all answers suggested before the election are only predictions.

According to a recent study by the University of Malaya Centre For Democracy and Elections (Umcedel), some 49 per cent of Malaysians in the peninsula are expected to vote for BN, which was doubled Pakatan Rakyat’s support of 21 per cent. The survey might be enough to boost BN’s morale, but supporters of Pakatan Rakyat might still question the objectivity and credibility of the survey.

In any case, if we can put aside our political stand and take it as a neutral survey, the survey has indeed conveyed some messages which are worthy of the attention of all parties.

For example, the survey pointed out that in the most crucial state of Selangor, voters seem indecisive. Some 34 per cent and 33 per cent of voters support BN and Pakatan Rakyat respectively, and the remaining 33 per cent have yet to decide which way to support. If the survey truly reflects the voting tendency of urban Malays, it is clearly a potential crisis for BN.

In addition, the impact of the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal and the data showing 61 per cent voters think that the government should stop the Lynas rare earth refinery plant project are issues which BN should be concerned about.

As for Pakatan Rakyat, the voting tendency of Indian voters in the survey was a major worry. According to the survey, 62 to 67 per cent of Indian voters in Negri Sembilan, Perak and Kedah support the BN while Pakatan Rakyat is supported by only 5 to 10 per cent of Indian voters in these states. It would be a major obstacle for Pakatan Rakyat to occupy Putrajaya.

It is paradoxical, however, that the same survey also shows that up to 60 per cent Indian voters in Selangor support Pakatan Rakyat, which is much higher than the Chinese support rate of 49 per cent. How could there be such a big gap between the Indian support rates in Selangor and the other three states of Negri Sembilan, Perak and Kedah? Does it reflect the different voting tendencies between urban and rural voters?

Or does it show errors in the survey?

Objectively speaking, the survey involved only 2,282 respondents and we should not judge or interpret it based on our own political stand. We should be more concerned about the public opinion during the election, as well as political behaviour, regardless of whether it is a manipulation in the name of public opinion to increase their moral points or dirty means to create fear of violence, they are the signs of election mania that we should avoid in the process of a democratic election.

If we are truly transforming into a more democratic country, we should then show our sincerity and maturity! Let’s have a transcendent and gentleman’s battle which is fairer and more transparent, instead of a election full of chaotic confrontations and ploys! —

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