LAST_UPDATESun, 18 Mar 2018 11am

GE14: Fight For Malay Votes Expected To Be Stiff

KUALA LUMPUR -- The scramble between the political parties for Malay votes during the 14th General Election (GE14) is expected to be tough and will be won by the party with the strongest work plan at the grassroots level, said National Council of Professors (MPN) deputy chairman Prof Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin.

He said in the current political landscape, there are four parties that will fight for the votes from the Malays, namely UMNO, PAS, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) but only UMNO and PAS have strong grassroots.

“It is critical for any party to have good ground work, workers or supporters who campaign at the grassroots level as no matter how great a leader is, without grassroot support, it will be difficult for him to get support.

“This is because those at the grassroots level can do the campaigning work and be close to the voters, and this is an important role in determining the votes,” he said in a session at the Pre GE14 Roundtable Discussion: Will BN Be Retained Or…??” here today.

The session titled 'BN vs PH vs PAS: Who Wins, Who Determines” which was moderated by assistant chief editor 1 of Utusan Malaysia Datuk Zaini Hassan, also included PPBM Information chief Datuk Kamarudin Md Nor and PAS director of Research Dr Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki as panelists.

Commenting on the issue, Kamarudin said the struggle for the Malay vote in this GE would be tough compared to previous general elections due to the new modes of information technology and media.

He said where previously the voters could be categorised as urban or rural, today’s voters had access to the same information within a short span of time, thus shaping their thinking to be almost similar.

“The people today are not the same as those in the 60s or 70s, whether they are rural or urban, modern technology gives them access to the latest information, so rural folks may have the same thinking as those in urban areas.

“The issue now is whether the Malays are prepared to change because many studies done by analysts claim that the Malays, especially those in the rural areas, are not ready to take the risk,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mohd Zuhdi said Malay non-governmental organisations will pay an important role in determining the direction of Malay votes, creating a Malay tsunami in the coming general election.

He stressed that a similar scenario was seen in 2013 where the Chinese NGOs determined the votes and this is expected to be repeated by the Malay community in the GE14.

The round table discussion was organised by MPN to discuss national and local issues pertaining to GE14, look at voting trends and assess the chances of BN, Pakatan Harapan and PAS.