In 1969, the then ruling party, the Alliance aka the Sailing Boat, suffered a big setback in the general election. Penang and Kelantan were won by Gerakan and PAS respectively, and there were uncertainties in Perak and Selangor.. What followed is the watershed event of May 13.
In June 1974, the then PM , Tun Razak, the father of present PM, went to China. That was a big news in Asia, since at that time, CHina was totally isolated, and was not even admitted to UN yet. ( The seat in UN was occupied by Republic of CHina, otherwise known as Taiwan).
The visit then gained a lot of goodwill from the CHinese Malaysian voters, and in the 1974 GE, held in AUgust just 2 months after the CHina visit, BN won big , 135 seats out of 154, with only 19 seats going to the opposition. The China visit played a big role in enhancing the profile of the then PM as a statesman, especially among the CHinese Malaysian voters then, many of whom originated from CHina (like both my parents).
Well, seems like history is repeating itself this time. In MArch 08, BN suffered a big set back , losing the popular votes and 5 states to the opposition. The present PM, after assuming office in April, went to visit China in JUne and hardly 4 months have passed, President Hu is now on invitation to visit our country.
Will there be an election and is this invitation to visit timed to coincide with any impending election?
What worked well 45 years ago may not work now, as this is a totally different world altogether. Most of the CHinese Malaysians are Malaysian born ( 2nd or third or more generations). Most of us think of Malaysia first . China to us is just another country albeit one in which our (meaning Chinese Malaysian) culture originated. One example is that whenever Malaysia plays CHina in sports, we cheer Malaysian players and not the Chinese players..
Recently, there was an uproar in Chinese blogosphere when Minister Mentor of Singapore openly said that US’s presence is needed in Asia to counter-balance China.. Many mainland CHinese were upset. But to me, A Chinese Singaporean should always put Singapore’s interest first, just like a Chinese Malaysian should always put Malaysia first.
So the visit to China by our top leader is treated by most Malaysians like a visit to any other country. NO goodwill will probably be earned by the mutual exchange of visit.. The China-born in Malaysia is now a very small minority and even they would probably not be swayed to vote for BN just because Chinese president visits Malaysia.
Whoever wins the hearts of the Chinese Malaysians will win their votes. The Chinese Malaysian voters are a practical lot, and most will be influenced by a good economy , the ability to ‘cari makan’ in a level playing field, a low crime environment, a good school system for thier children and good governance.
In fact, this is what a citizen of any country look forward too. A fair treatment, a good environment to earn their livings and a place where their basic rights are protected and respected.
Coming back to the issue of election.
Personally, i do not think that there will be an election but if the opposition continues on their present path of shooting their own feet, resulting in an implosion and breaking up of the coalition, do not discount an election next year. IN any case, I think BN will go for a State election in Perak first, most probably next year, and the result there would determine whether there will be an early 13th GE or not.