Some observers say that in the Peninsula, there are about 90 to 100 Parliamentary constituencies which have a mixed voter profile similar to Bukit Gantang or Bukit Selambau.
In these constituencies, the Malay vote is always a slight majority only and not an overwhelming majority. Considering that the Malay vote is now about evenly split between Pas and UMNO, it is quite obvious that the next General Elections are going to be decided in these mixed constituencies.
To digress a little, in a recent forum Dr Chandra Muzaffar pointed out historical voting behaviour in Malaysia. The Barisan Nasional has never been as successful in overwhelmingly Malay or overwhelmingly Chinese constituencies. For example Pas has often defeated UMNO in heavily Malay constituencies in Kelantan, Terengganu and other places. Even until today, UMNO victory in Malay dominant Terengganu is by razor thin majorities.
And likewise the DAP has always won big in predominantly Chinese constituencies. The most glaring example is Mr Lim Kit Siang’s ‘strategic retreat’ to Ipoh Timur in 2008, where the constituency is about 80% Chinese.
Tracking Mr Lim’s electoral performance over the past 40 years is like reading a book by itself. Mr Lim has always stood in overwhelmingly Chinese constituencies, both Parliament and State. This is from his website : Bandar Melaka (1969 - 1974); Kota Melaka (1974 - 1978); Petaling Jaya (1978 -1982); Kota Melaka (1982 - 1986); Tanjong – Penang (1986 - 1999); Ipoh Timur (since 2004).
As State Assemblyman he represented Kubu, Melaka (1974 - 1982); Kampong Kolam, Penang (1986 - 1990); and Padang Kota, Penang (1990 -1995).
Despite 40 years of ‘Malaysian Malaysia-ing’ Mr Lim has never felt comfortable enough to test his popularity in constituencies which are more truly “Malaysian Malaysia” ie about 50%-60% Malay, 20%-30% Chinese and say 10%-20% Indian.
Yet, until 2008, these are the type of Constituencies which have been the BN’s stronghold. Until recently, the BN has always derived its greatest success from mixed racial constituencies like Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau.
This is evidence enough that the BN derives its support from a vast majority of middle of the road Malaysians who are able to recognize and identify with the BN’s multi racial philosophy, ie to share power and coexist with our multi racial neighbours.
No doubt this philosophy has been tarnished to perhaps a very large extent by the presence of an incompetent leader for the past six years as well as his incompetent Ministers of equally dubious and low moral persuasions. The BN needs to address this situation urgently.
Wonder how many realised this. How will it be for 2013's General Election?