Why BN lost the urban votes

In an earlier article,  by way of simple mathematics, I have shown that at there are in fact more Non Chinese Malaysians voted against BN than Chinese Malaysians in the just concluded 13th General Election.

It is true that the Chinese has voted as a bloc, with an estimated 80% for BN. But at most, because they are a minority, they can cause only a ripple, maybe a small wave, but never a tsunami.

It is because of the other urban Malaysians, such as the urban Malays in Batu, Shah Alam, Puchong , Lembah Pantai, Wangsa Maju and everywhere else, who voted against BN that has resulted in the mini tsunami.

The reason that Chinese is more visible  as a bloc is because  Chinese Malaysians predominantly reside in urban areas . Urban sentiments are  against BN, for reasons which I will touch on below,  resulting in most Chinese voted for Opposition. But in rural areas like Kedah, I was told many Chinese voted for BN.

Now that election is over, PM has mentioned about national reconciliation.

I welcome that. Yes,  this is the time for reconciliation and healing, but to do so, first of all, we must stop all racial rhetoric and the blame game, and sit down and analyse why BN has lost so much of ground in urban areas.

I will name a few below :

1. 1Malaysia and Perkasa. While there was initially high hope for PM’s 1Malaysia vision, it was very fast negated by the rise of right wing extremists in UMNO in the form of outsourced NGO Perkasa.

While  ordinary people would be hauled up for small offences, big wigs in Perkasa go scot  free and was perceived  to be given a licence to utter racist and extreme views.

The free hand given to Perkasa and its patron negates whatever PM’s effort to push for 1Malaysia , which is a pity of course.  In the minds of many urban people, 1Malaysia  has just become  a slogan to be uttered loudly whenever there is a government event or in the presence of government leaders.

Thus, to many urban people, the best result this time around is the defeat of the racists such as Ibrahim Ali and Zulklifli Nordin, both of whom are seen to be linked to Dr M.   The fact that they lost in predominant Malay areas showed that even Malay people do not buy this type of extremism anymore. Their defeat should be something for BN and UMNo to reflect deeply and  seriously.

While BN accuses others  of being racists, they should look at the mirror at themselves, and see why the likes of these racists were being fielded and aided. It is akin to acknowledging  that BN supports extremism.   On top of that, there is Utusan which time and again carries extremist views but nothing was done to curb it.

While heads of some  component parties of BN did come out with statements to condemn Perkasa and Utusan every time they utter  something extreme, they were seen to be inert in stopping these extremist views  even  with their so-called internal  channels to PM and BN supreme council. Their inertness was interpreted as total subservience to  UMNO’s hegemony.

If they are seen to be subservient, then how do they be effective to  represent the interest of urbanites, given that their seats were mainly in urban areas?  To the urban people, these component parties have  totally lost relevance by their inability to moderate such extremism and double standard.

Race based politics is on the way out. To those who have access to internet, race is no more an issue. The  internet community is  actually those who reside in urban and affluent suburban areas. The urban tsunami can therefore also  be seen as the Tsunami of the Internet Community.

BN needs to be be more farsighted and look beyond race.. BN should really consider disbanding each individual component and merge into one big multiracial party without harping on Malay rights and support those who utter extremist religious views.

2. Perceived failure of the institutions.  While the Police maintains that crime rate has come down, urbanites are troubled by reports of robberies, snatch thefts(some resulting in deaths), which have become so common that many victims did not even bother to report such instances. Even Malaysians’  Mall going culture was at one time threatened by reports of robberies occurring in shopping mall car parks.

The anti corruption agency MACC lost the trust of the people with  cases such as Teoh Beng Hock unresolved.  Teoh’s death epitomizes unfairness and injustice  when no one was held responsible. Teoh became a martyr of sort, and in letting the culprits go unpunished, people lost all trust not only in  the agency, but the ruling parties  as well.

While many small fries were hauled up to court for corruption, the perception remains that those with big influences go scott free. While it is true that even a Tun is being charged for corruption, people’s perception is that one swallow does not make a spring.

Other institution such as Judiciary and Election Commission were perceived to be pro establishment, and I need not go into details.

Such perceived failure of these institutions results in anti establishment  sentiments among those  people who have access to internet and those who use social media, either with smart phones or computers.

Any perceived unfairness, whether true or exaggerated, becomes viral. One such example was the ‘listen listen listen’ video, which became viral among the internet community in a short time.  That personality in that particular video has come to epitomise the ruling coalition– the arrogance of the Big Brother , and the inertness and subservience of rest of the component parties.

3. The rising cost of living. Many urbanites are struggling to survive, with the cost of living escalating faster than the increments  in their income.

This alone would not be so bad, but when these people see how those with connections benefited from government projects, and the massive corruptions and extravagance taking place, they became disillusioned. On the one hand, they have to tighten their belts, on the other, they see how government funds are being wasted on projects such as the National feedlots Centre.  This creates massive amount of discontent.

Again, the abuse and wastage were shared via internet and social media , and from internet , via words of mouth. Again,  this discontent becomes viral, spreading much faster than even an epidemic.

It is not coincidental that these internet savvy groups are mainly those who reside in urban and suburban areas, cutting across ethnic lines.

These are the people who are responsible for the tsunami, not any particular ethnic group.

also published in: the malaysianinsider


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. klm
    May 08, 2013 @ 15:21:38

    Dr. Hsu. You are preaching to people who have ears but see not. They have eyes but hear not. It is like casting pearls amongst swine.

    On another note, in a pique Gerakan is talking about closing its service centers in Penang. This is a clear sign of the demise of the already half dead Gerakan. Now, they wished they had listen to you.


  2. Dr Hsu
    May 08, 2013 @ 15:25:22


    Good medicine is always bitter. I preached and preached and predicted all this outcome while inside the party. NO one really cares.


  3. Cy
    May 08, 2013 @ 17:17:16

    I will share this. Good analysis Dr.Hsu.


  4. klm
    May 08, 2013 @ 17:45:02

    How come Koh Tsu Koon is getting away scot fre?. He, as Gerakan president must take a big share of the blame. But Gerakan members are like sheeps and not going after his head.


  5. petestop
    May 08, 2013 @ 20:28:46

    Long time did’nt come here.

    Well, MCA and Gerakan failed to read and response to the pulse of the people, especially the Chinese, because either they too busy with their gains in office, or they actually believe the UMNO rhetoric and try to sell it to the community.

    Well, the community is not stupid and have voted… You’re Fired !


  6. Simple Sense
    May 08, 2013 @ 22:07:42

    The only winner out of GE13 is the rakyat of Malaysia.
    Clearly, BN had been out of synchronization with the social political in Malaysia and this has been highlighted in the result of GE13.
    The initial response from BN on this cleavage is a step in the wrong direction. If we read Najib statement, it is moderate. It just give the description of the change,n though not comprehensive. Then, old horse came out and put the theme onto the racial track again. And set Najib up for criticism. So, who is really in charge of BN, old horse or PM.
    The next five years can be distracting for Malaysians, both for the rakyat and the party trying to govern the country. The current indications all point to enlargement of the cleavage between governing and the social political development. It will reach a natural breaking point sometimes down the road…..
    BN does not has any chance to reform itself as long as the old horse hands are in it.
    God bless Malaysia.


  7. Li Li Fa
    May 08, 2013 @ 23:10:45

    AJG is truly in a dilemma now. Although sworn in as the new PM, he still cannot the discount the notion that the GE13 has been skewed, tainted, fraudulent, and incompetently carried out.

    Good luck to him, as he chews over the fact that BN has again lost its 2/3 majority in Parliament, and also lost its popularity vote, as more people voted for PR than BN when the final figures are compared. PR has gained more new parliamentary seats.

    The old horse is gunning after him, and already fired the first salvo that his Party decides on AJG’ s fate, hinting that there is more exciting and challenging political encounters within their own party.

    AJG once said that he would like to see his kris be tainted with Chinese blood. After the GE13, he again picked and blamed it on the Chinese Tsunami. From the person who said this country has the best democracy in the world, would send jitters into the spines of the people, especially the Chinese citizens. There also goes his 1Malaysia slogan. Talking, and singing slogan is easy.

    Even when the PR supporters are gathering at the Kelana Jaya Stadium at this time of writing, I believe, that many people who voted were deeply disappointed with how the election was carried out. A free, fair and just general election was what they really hoped to see happen. Alas, all these had been thrown out of the window, amidst rumours of lights going off.

    But there is still hope. Rome was not built in a day. Neither is Putrajaya.
    The desire, and foundation have been put in place. Now the people will stand up to their rights till they reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

    The people, whether from the urban and slowly but surely the rural areas are awakening to the call for a free, fair and just election on non-racial lines.


  8. Phua Kai Lit
    May 09, 2013 @ 07:43:57

    The biggest losers (in West Malaysia) from 5 more years of kleptocratic
    UMNO Baru-BN rule will be the working class Malays and working class Indians (working class Chinese are able to go to booming Singapore to get jobs in their factories and construction sites):

    1. Accelerating inflation from poor management of the economy and
    very loose fiscal policy
    2. Continued deterioration of public services i.e. public sector hospitals, deteriorating standards in public schools, lack of public transport
    3. Upcoming reduction or removal of subsidies to reduce the deficit
    4. Introduction of GST (goods and services tax)
    5. Their lack of English language skills mean they are restricted largely to the domestic job market
    6. They will face more competition for jobs from Indons, Bangladeshis etc who have been given Malaysian ICs or Malaysian citizenship. Also, the latter will exert significant downward pressure on working class wages.
    7. Continuation of brainwashing through mainstream media propaganda
    and pro-BN intellectual hired guns from the public universities

    Malaysia Boleh !


  9. Huat Leong Saw
    May 09, 2013 @ 10:38:19

    I wish to refer to 1st sentence of para 2..”It is true that the Chinese has voted as a bloc, with an estimated 80% for BN.”. Is this correct?


  10. Dr Hsu
    May 09, 2013 @ 11:00:23

    It is a rough estimate. We need to wait for more statistics to come out. The voting trends of the streams.
    80% is very hig in any election..


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