Saturday November 6, 2010
MCA capturing Chinese hearts
By FOONG PEK YEE
Hitting the ground and listening to the problems of the rakyat — followed by advice and solutions — is a winning strategy for MCA in the Galas by-election.
NG Zi Wen has likened life in Galas to living in a time warp. Like many teenagers in Gua Musang, she dreams of going to Kuala Lumpur, be it for holidays, education or work.
However, many of Ng’s friends ended up working as clerks or promoters in Gua Musang, earning about RM2 an hour.
“Life is difficult,” said the 18-year-old.
Older villagers who toiled as rubber tappers or plantation workers are now living in uncertainty.
Their land titles have expired — some by more than 10 years — and there is no sign that they will be renewed.
It was against such a backdrop that the people went to the polls on Thursday. It’s a fallacy to expect them to continue supporting a regime that has contributed to their woes.
On the other hand, there is really no reason for them not to gravitate to the party which is ready and willing to resolve their problems, and bring changes and hope to them.
The MCA must have seen this clearly.
Party president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the party had changed its campaign strategies for Galas.
He said the party preferred to hold small gatherings with the people and conduct house-to-house visits to listen to their problems and offer them solutions.
This, he explained, was important before the Barisan Nasional could explain to them on how Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his programmes like the Economic Transformation Programme and 1Malaysia policy would mean to them.
Wooing voters via emotionally-charged speeches in big gatherings, with free food, songs and dances thrown in, is perhaps a thing of the past, if not something that undermines the people’s intelligence.
In fact, just a month ago, Najib had, during the MCA annual general assembly, told the delegates in no uncertain terms of the need to go to the ground to serve the people well.
The Prime Minister said the people would reciprocate that with their support towards the Barisan.
The coalition, which wrested Galas from PAS with a 1,190-vote majority, is also reflective of the importance of Chinese votes.
Barisan won with a 200-vote majority in four voting streams with a majority of Chinese voters on Thursday , compared to a loss with a 400-vote majority (in the four voting streams) to PAS in the last general election.
PAS, which won Galas in the last election in 2008 with a 646 vote-majority, had obviously failed to sustain the Chinese support.
The by-elections in Galas and Batu Sapi, being the first two of the 13 by-elections since the last general election, showed a noticeable swing of Chinese votes to the Barisan and this is indeed encouraging.
And the fact that it came seven months after the crisis-ridden MCA returned to normality following the election of the new leadership under Dr Chua is certainly another development to take note.
A good beginning is half the battle won.
Now Barisan in general, and MCA in particular, face yet another challenge – repeat the feat in Galas and Batu Sapi in other constituencies in the next general election.