A survey by the Ilham Centre, an emerging think-tank with ties to PAS, shows that 80% of Malays in three constituencies – Kepala Batas, Tasik Gelugor and Bayan Lepas – believe they have been marginalised under the Pakatan Rakyat government. This is in contrast to 47% who think that Umno had not fulfilled their expectations.
The issue of PAS becoming a puppet of the DAP and PKR was listed as the top national issue for them. A total of 55% said they were concerned PAS was being used by its Pakatan partners.
The survey was carried out early last month in the parliamentary constituencies of Kepala Batas and Tasik Gelugor and the state seat of Bayan Lepas, all of which are currently held by Umno.
Former premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop are the respective incumbents in Kepala Batas and Tasik Gelugor, which were won with big majorities. However, Barisan Nasional won Bayan Lepas by only 399 votes.
PAS is believed to be looking for a safe seat for its deputy president Mohamad Sabu in Penang where Mohd Salleh Man is its sole assemblyman in Permatang Pasir.
Race and other communal issues figured prominently as priorities among the Malays. For instance, in terms of national issues, 47% said race and ethnicity issues would affect the way they vote, followed by Malay supremacy and special rights (43%), development (36%) and Malay welfare and Islam (29%).
Only 16% named PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a national issue and 9% thought that the sodomy and sex video was an issue.
However, Anwar was not seen as a state or local leader whom they looked up to, although 30% said they respected Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and 13% recognised deputy Chief Minister Datuk Mansor Othman.
For more than 50% of those interviewed, local Umno figures in their vicinity were regarded as those whom they recognised and respected. Only 3% regarded state Opposition chief Datuk Azhar Ibrahim as their leader while less than 3% saw Penang Umno chief Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman as a local leader.
Of the local factors that would affect the way they vote, 55% of them said it was about the Malays being sidelined by the DAP leadership. This was followed by the Chief Minister’s personal image and the perception of DAP cronyism (52%), cost of living and opportunities (45%), Chinese dominance if Pakatan wins again (40%), the Penang economy and people’s welfare (29%), and inadequate infrastructure and ame-nities (25%).
The report noted that PAS did not enjoy a high profile in Penang and was not seen as a champion of Malay interests. Local PAS leaders like Mat Sabu and Parit Buntar MP Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa were not perceived as Penang leaders although the latter was from the state.
According to the report, Anwar’s influence in Penang was confined largely to Permatang Pauh where he is an MP. PKR’s multi-racial outlook also did not appeal to the Malays.
The Malays interviewed still looked to Umno for Malay leadership although they did not like the way the mamaks or Indian-Muslims dominate Umno politics in the state. About 53% said Umno looked after them well compared to 26% who said Pakatan had done the same.
(source: Joceline Tan of The Star)