Najib’s Chinese Dilemma

I predict that MCA and Gerakan will be decimated in the coming elections. For all the wooing and all the concessions that Najib has made, I predict that he will get even less of the Chinese vote than Pak Lah did in ’08.

The problem with Najib’s approach to the Chinese is that it is all carrot and no stick. All the benefits the Chinese have been enjoying since the 2008 elections have come as a direct result of them thumbing their noses at BN. Apart from tasting real power in Pakatan states Penang, Perak and Selangor, the BN Federal government has been bending over backwards to appease them. The fact is, the more they stick the knife into Najib, the more he gives to them. So what incentive is there for them to return to the BN fold?

Najib must show that there are very real consequences for the Chinese if they continue down this road. First, he must stress that representation of the various groups in his administration must reflect the level of support he gets from each group. If after the GE, BN end up with only 5% of their MPs or ADUNs being Chinese, then no more than 5% of his ministers, deputy ministers or state Exco members can be Chinese. He must tell them: No vote means no representation. The Malays, Indians, Dayaks and Kadazans will all be there and their voices will be heard, their concerns addressed. Shun us and you’ll be left out in the cold on your own.

Second, he must show how their vote will directly affect their daily lives. Much as they may say otherwise, people will vote for the candidate who can most profit them personally rather than the candidate they like or whose views they agree with.

I take the Ampang KL Elevated highway to work every day. And every day, I curse Pak Lah for letting motorcycles onto this highway (For those not familiar with the story, in response to criticism for raising petrol prices, Pak Lah, in his great wisdom, decided to allow motorcycles onto the MEX and AKLEH highways, both of which were never designed to take them. If you’ve ever driven on AKLEH during rush hour, you’ll know what a dangerous and frustrating ordeal it has now become). So much so that despite my intense revulsion for the sleazebag that is Azmin Ali, if he were able to give me a guarantee that he would take motorcycles off AKLEH for good, I would seriously consider voting for him.

This might seem petty, even unprincipled, but at the end of the day, for the average human being, self interest trumps every other consideration. In every consitituency, BN must seek out the little things that grate at the Chinese. It may be a broken road. It may be crime. Or it may be that there is no temple or Chinese school to send their kids to. Promise them these schools, policemen, roads or whatever it is they are asking for. But it should not be Najib or Chua or Koh who must be making these promises. It must be the local BN candidate seeking to represent them. And make it clear in no uncertain terms that without that BN assemblyman or MP in place, the Chinese can forget about getting any of these things, for whichever way the Chinese vote, in all likelihood BN will still be in power after the election.


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