NOTE: This is but a speculative piece and doesn’t reflect the views of the New Straits Times. The opinions imparted here are of my own, based on my personal observations. Please keep in mind, I’m not affiliated to any political party, nor am I supporting either side (be it the BN coalition or the Pakatan Rakyat). This piece was written after looking at both sides of the spectrum.
So, a day more for the nomination day and things are already starting to heat up. Malaysians, especially DAP supporters were awoken to a rude shock yesterday when news sites and the social media was abuzz with the possibility of DAP not being able to contest for the 13th General Election under its famous rocket logo. Here’s a breakdown of the whole debacle.
The whole ROS & DAP debacle in a summary
Two days before nomination day (April 18), the Democratic Action Party receives a letter from the Registrar of Societies (ROS) stating that it doesn’t recognise the party’s central executive committee (CEC) due to its infamous “glitch” during the party’s election last December.
This resulted in DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng to issue a statement saying that the party would contest under the PKR and PAS banner. ROS however has clarified that the party is recognised, but not its leaders.
The whole CEC “glitch”
It all began when there was a miscalculation of votes during DAP’s CEC elections in December, resulting in a few members names being dropped and replaced by others without a re-election, paving way for ROS to not recognise the party’s members.
|ROS does not recognise the DAP leaders after an election “glitch”|
The whole decision by DAP top leaders to not hold any re-election kicked a fuss between the grass-root members of the party, with at least 700 members were alleged to not be notified earlier regarding the party’s election. All said and done, DAP shot itself in the foot for this one when they should have held a re-election instead. It was a blunder served on a silver platter by DAP.
ROS in a letter to Guan Eng stated that it does not recognise the leaders of the party thus suspending their status as leaders.
The decision by ROS irked many of the party’s supporters, with many questioning ROS’s decision, a decision just two days short before the nomination day. And that too after the society was alleged to promise Lim Guan Eng that they would postpone its investigation to May. It has made many party members to believe that this decision could have been politically motivated, a move that could benefit Barisan Nasional (BN).
However, ROS stressed that it recognises DAP as a party but not its leaders. Which brings us to this question: What if DAP members/leaders DO contest under the rocket logo, would the candidates be recognised should they win in their respective constituencies?
In light of this and to avoid trouble in the future, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang was adamant that the party members would still use the PAS and PKR logos to contest in Peninsula and Sabah & Sarawak respectively despite ROS giving them the green light to contest using the rocket symbol. Kit Siang also alleged that MCA had a hand in this whole debacle.
DAP’s ability to put up a strong fight
The Chinese community is touted to be the deciding factor for the looming 13th General Election. With many members of the community, especially in urban areas, already expressing dissatisfaction toward the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA). The frustration of this community has already slowly seeped into the Chinese voters living in rural areas, with some openly declaring that they prefer DAP over MCA.
|Fan base is growing by the day|
DAP, over the past four-years realised the advantage of the social media. It’s no surprise that the party has over 359, 838 fans on its Facebook page (as of April 19, 5:04pm – I even screen captured the image as proof) compared to BN’s, 55,841 (also screen captured). It’s understandable that one should not compare number of Facebook fans to see which party has more supporters, but the numbers are there, and let’s be honest, social media is part of the lifestyle for people living in the 21st century.
All these is evident when everyday, there are numerous Facebook users who share and post videos/blogs/photos/statuses relating to the party compared to the other.
|BN needs to implement a more creative strategy to appeal to young voters|
With a plethora of creative methods being used to gain supporters (the Ubah Rocket Style is one prime example along with its RocketTV & UbahTV), it’s no surprise that the party appealed to young voters, mainly Chinese voters.
This had made DAP to be the strongest among the members of the opposition coalition in terms of followers, followed by PAS and then PKR. Heck, even PAS is using the social media to its advantage (PAS youth chief Ustaz Nasrudin Hassan a good example). With bloggers and versatile young faces (Tony Pua and Christina Chiew) and many others among its ranks using the social media to its advantage, it’s a no brainer why many young voters, especially the Chinese prefer DAP.
This could have been a different situation 10-years-ago, when social media was still at its infancy in Malaysia. It’s obvious that this election will be determined by who gets to successfully penetrate and influence the fence sitters (especially young voters) through the use of the social media and the Chinese voters who are second when it comes to majority in terms of race after the Malays.
Let’s be honest here. Take a stroll down to Brickfields, or Bangsar, heck even Seremban, and ask at least five Chinese people on which party they prefer; MCA or DAP, their replies would surprise you.
DAP has slowly penetrated the Chinese community in rural areas too as many folks there are starting to get access to the internet as well.
So does DAP still stand a chance to win?
The difference lies in the fact that; folks who vote in the rural areas prefer voting based on a their favorite party, not caring much about the candidates itself. If they see the logo of the party of their choice, they would cross the box, regardless of who is contesting.
It’s different than those in urban areas, who majority do review the candidates first before crossing and are much more aware to issues within the country.
Which brings us to the crust of this post.
Should DAP contest under the PAS/PKR symbol, many of their voters (mainly in rural areas) would be delusional if they see Lim Kit Siang’s face plastered next to the PAS moon. It’s a known fact that not many Chinese folks accept PAS.
|Put yourself in the shoes of a rural Chinese voter,
would this poster appeal to you?
This is bound to create a confusion among them, resulting them to cross the box next to BN’s logo. This whole conundrum is bound to cloud DAP’s chances of securing votes from the community in mainly Chinese majority areas, thus jeopardising their chances to win the respective seats they’re contesting in.
The party wouldn’t have much of a problem in urban areas as majority of the voters have already set their minds on who to vote for.
Ofcourse, as Zan Azlee puts it, it could be a win-win situation for DAP too if the pro-PAS voters see the moon plastered next to a DAP candidate. However, lets be honest here. DAP is contesting in seats that are mainly consisting of Chinese majority. Regardless if there are a number of PAS supporters there who might vote for DAP, the results will finally be determined by the Chinese voters themselves.
Would DAP be able to ride the storm or sink? Would its ardent supporters vote for their candidates should they choose to contest under the PAS logo? All these answers, in the end, can only be answered come May 5 when Malaysians cast their ballots. This is definitely turning out to be a very interesting election.
Again, this is just a speculative piece. I welcome your feedbacks, thoughts, suggestions and comments.