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Utusan is wrong, majority of Malays support Pakatan

June 12, 2018

* Sarawak government leaves Barisan Nasional
*
Dr M: Harapan now stronger in Parliament  

Pakatan Harapan supporters at a ceramah a few days prior to GE14 last month. Surveys in the run-up to the elections reveal that ‘preservation of Malay rights’ had taken a backseat among Malay-Muslim voters and many did not fear voting the then opposition PH. – EPA pic, June 12, 2018

MOST Malay-Muslims have given the thumbs-up to the new Pakatan Harapan government and the return of Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister.

This was the finding of two think-tanks which refute the claims of pro-Umno daily Utusan Malaysia that Malay-Muslims have soured towards the new administration.

The regret, said political analyst Hisomuddin Bakar, is among Umno members who abandoned the party and the Barisan Nasional in GE14.

Hisomudin of Ilham Centre said these Umno members ditched the party in GE14 to teach its leaders a lesson but were shocked at the consequences of their actions.

“They are shocked that they lost federal power. They just wanted to protest against their arrogant leaders. They are the ones regretting it.

“Ordinary Malays are comfortable with PH since they no longer have to the pay for the goods and services tax (GST),” said Hisomuddin, who has interviewed both Malay voters and Umno supporters post-GE14.

His counterpart at the Merdeka Centre, Ibrahim Suffian, echoed this finding, saying the think-tank’s survey showed that a majority of Malay voters are satisfied with the new government.

“They have also accorded high approval ratings to Dr Mahathir,” said Ibrahim, of the 92-year-old who has started a historic second term as prime minister.

The smooth and peaceful of transfer of power between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan was also critical in debunking a popular myth spread by Umno while also strengthening Malay confidence in PH.

“They saw that there was no violence and no chaos. Things went on as usual but with the added plus of no GST. So Malay businessmen especially were very appreciative,” said Hisomuddin.

Good governance

In its weekend column, Awang Selamat, which is the name for Utusan Malaysia’s editorial voice, declared that Malay anger towards Umno is just a passing emotion.

Utusan has come under fire for playing up racial and religious sentiments. It recently opposed appointing Tommy Thomas as attorney-general on the grounds that he is not a Malay Muslim.

Thomas’ appointment was confirmed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who released a statement calling on all Malaysians not to see it as a racial and religious issue.

Prof Mansor Mohd Nor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) said ethnic issues were important to only a minority of Malaysians.

“The majority wants to prioritise good governance and inclusive development. They want professional people with integrity,” said Mansor, who specialises in inter-ethnic studies.

“In fact, before GE14, there have been many studies showing that the people accept government officers from diverse backgrounds.”

Another reason most Malaysians, including Malays, are not swayed by the race card, said Mansor, was because PH has consistently said it supports the federal constitution – which enshrines the special position of the Malays.

In Merdeka Centre’s pre-GE14 survey, the shift in Malay attitude which influenced their vote could already be seen.

It showed during the 11-day campaign period, Malay voters began to set aside the importance they held for the “preservation of Malay rights”, said Ibrahim.

More importance was given to “having a competent national leadership”.

This shift in sentiment was due to Dr Mahathir who gave legitimacy to PH and who constantly reminded voters of BN’s financial scandals. This change in the Malay-mindset carried over to after GE14. – June 12, 2018.

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