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