Wong: Chinese votes crucial

PETALING JAYA: Political and social analyst Wong Chin Huat says the crux of the 14th general election (GE14) battle is not whether Pakatan Harapan (PH) can win more than 112 parliamentary seats to form the federal government but whether they can beat Barisan Nasional (BN) in the Peninsular.

If it does, there is the possibility that BN component parties in Sabah and Sarawak may leave BN for PH, he said.

There will be "wholesale" switching of camps in the two states if it does happen; it all depends on Umno's performance in the Peninsular, he said.

Chinese votes will decide which way the results go in about 35 seats, he was reported by Oriental Daily News as saying.

For example, if PH garners 95 seats in Peninsular against 70 by BN, BN component parties in East Malaysia may offer themselves to the highest bidder between PH and BN, Wong said at a forum on GE14 in Penang on Sunday.

In GE13, BN and the Opposition coalition won 85 and 80 seats respectively in Peninsular.

Wong, head of political and social analysis at Penang Institute, pointed out that out of these 165 parliamentary seats, 62 (38 held by BN and 24 by PH) are considered "black" seats for BN, meaning BN obtained between 45% and 55% of the votes in the last election.

And out of the 62, Chinese voters account for more than 50% in one seat; 20-50% in 34 seats (19 held by BN); and less than 20% in 27 seats (19 held by BN).

Wong said Chinese vote will determine whether BN would lose more than 30 of the above "black" seats in GE14.

He said the turnout rate of Chinese voters is crucial: if they opt to spoil their votes in frustration, BN may well regain it two-thirds majority.

Another political analyst Phoon Wing Keong said if BN retains power in GE14, the Opposition can forget about marching into Putrajaya in the next 10 to 15 years.