Want to woo Chinese votes? Start with cost of living

31 Oct 2022 08:30am
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SHAH ALAM - Those seeking to win votes from Chinese voters in the coming 15th General Election (GE15) may want to theme their electoral sales pitch along the lines of tackling the increasing cost of living and the prices of goods.

This was so because a recent voters sentiment study found out that the said bread and butter issues was the topmost concern among the Chinese; even higher than their worries over issues of institutional reform and governance.

In fact, slightly more than half of the 293 respondents surveyed in the study -- funded by Huayan Policy Institute and the Centre for Malaysian Chinese Studies -- claimed that their lives were affected by cost of living and prices of goods.

“51.8 per cent of the Chinese respondents felt that the rise of living cost has affected their livelihood,” the study discovered. Aside from cost of living and prices of goods which scored 78.63 per cent in the study’s issues of concerns index, the second most concerning issues was education (75.11 per cent) followed by political stability (72.98 per cent), interracial relations (72.51 per cent) and currency and national debt (68.61 per cent).

The report centering on contemporary Chinese political sentiment towards GE15 was conducted in three parliamentary constituencies with high presence of Chinese voters namely; Bukit Gelugor (Penang); Sungai Besar (Selangor) and Ayer Hitam (Johor).

In terms of government performance, more than 60 per cent of the Chinese respondents felt that the incumbent government was incapable of restoring quality of life, purchasing power and boost economic development.

Unsurprisingly, a whopping 73.2 per cent of the respondents perceived the incumbent government as “Malay and Islam centric” with 65.2 per cent of them also felt that the current political situation is unstable.

“The Chinese respondents felt that the Perikatan Nasional government under [the administration of] Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had the poorest performance, followed by the Barisan Nasional government led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak,” the report noted.

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Contrastingly, the Pakatan Harapan government has a higher rating compared to others despite the fact that it was led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad instead of the ethnic minority’s most preferred prime minister candidate, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Surprisingly, incumbent Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin of Umno, was the second most preferred PM candidate among the Chinese, with a total score of 18.56 per cent, closely followed by Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Izzah at 18.52 per cent.

The sentiment survey report was published on October 15 and prepared by Taylor’s University Associate Professor Dr. Chang Yun Fah and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Associate Professor Dr. Chin Yee Mun and lecturer Phua Yeong Nan.