Malay vote strategy war GE15


The 15th General Election (GE15) witnessed many clashes and the division of votes among themselves in the majority of Malay voters. Political parties based on Muslim Malays such as UMNO-BN, Perikatan Nasional (PN – Bersatu, Pas) and Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA – Pejuang, Putra and others) ‘grab’ and ‘fight’ to implement strategies to win the hearts of Malay voters, especially in rural areas .
BN moves with its component partners UMNO-MCA-MIC and strategic partners from Sabah and Sarawak. Efforts to realize the National Consensus (MN) have not been achieved but BN is confident of winning GE15 despite going ‘solo’.
Basically, BN on paper was able to ‘win’ several parliaments in Johor, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak based on their excellent success in the previous state elections. There is no shortcut except all out if you want to win this GE15.
But BN needs to devise a strategy to win the hearts of its voters with a friendlier approach and implement systematic political marketing. It should be remembered that the victory of any candidate also depends on the extent to which they are able to control and deal with the perceptions and sentiments surrounding political parties.
So BN’s approach needs to be more strategic, structured because all political parties want to ‘hit’ the party in question. The basis is simple, because other political parties can smell the strength of the machinery and solidarity that exists in BN which puts BN ahead in getting support compared to others.
To what extent is BN able to win GE15 this time? The question is whether PH, PN, GTA and others ‘attack’ each other?
To what extent does the party focus its propaganda and strategy on BN alone? In fact, the four-cornered clash is seen to give BN an advantage to win GE15.
However, this is not a matter that guarantees victory as long as BN does not work hard to campaign and succeed in winning the hearts of voters until polling day.
If GE14 was clearly a clash between two sides namely BN and PH, GE15 witnessed a more significant strategic war than before. Not only through social media, but strategies can be detected through the nomination of candidates, especially at the parliamentary level.
There is no more term ‘fixed deposit’ or ‘status-quo’ in most political party strategies. The concept of ‘as long as we win’ is a more important strategy to capture Putrajaya and the formation of the government.
There are at least 22 hot seats that are considered to be the focus for political parties in the country to stake big names in the GE15 this time.
GE15 also saw 945 candidates contesting the largest number in the history of elections in this country. Making Malaysia a democratic stage that gives space and opportunity for its citizens to present themselves as leaders in Parliament and State Assembly. Most of all, the battle of support in the Gombak Parliament when the incumbent Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali defended the area from being seized by the candidate of his former party, the People’s Justice Party (PKR) while PKR seemed to want to ‘take revenge’ on the scene of the Sheraton Steps when appointing the Menteri Besar Selangor, Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari to compete in the area.
The question is why doesn’t Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahin himself compete in Gombak? If this happens then there will be a gentleman in determining support.
However, PKR-PH’s strategy as before put its President, Anwar, to migrate from Port Dickson to Tambun, Perak, which is considered safe. All of this is related to political strategy.
It is clear that PH’s main strategy is to split the PN and BN votes by fielding Malay candidates who hold key positions and are known within the party. This situation will make the Malay candidates split into three or more and even give PH an opportunity to get some of the votes from the group.
Previously, BN preferred to put local candidates in their respective parliaments. Now big names like Khairy Jamaluddin (KJ) migrated from Rembau to Sungai Buloh, Selangor. UMNO Youth Leader, Datuk Dr. Asraf Wajdi as a candidate in Grik, Perak despite being from Kelantan. Similarly, several Pas candidates contested and were given a path on the BN ticket, especially in Kelantan.
However, some urban and suburban parliamentary areas where Malays are the majority, such as Shah Alam and Bangi, clashed with Malay candidates plus some Independent candidates.
When there is a split in the Malay vote where we see PN and BN competing, it is indirectly PH’s strategy to get part of the split Malay vote while DAP in PH is more inclined to field Malay candidates to gain the support of Malay voters.
The strategy used by PH was also used in the last GE14 since the coalition was known to be ‘more favored’ by non-Malay voters.
PH also features popular and well-known candidates to oppose big names from opposing parties, which is the coalition’s strategy to take advantage of the clash of other Malay parties.
Clashes in some Malay majority areas will directly witness the division of votes and is expected to give an advantage to the coalition in getting some of the votes of the group.
Similarly, some big names were dismissed and moved everywhere without thinking about the concept of ‘parachute candidates’.
The question is, to what extent is the parachute candidate accepted by the voters? To what extent will a leader who ‘jumps the party’ be accepted by the voters?
As for the big names, they are likely to have more potential to win seats, but there have also been many previous results where big names on parachute tickets lost to lesser-known candidates.
It is clear that the power of determining victory is more concentrated in the hands of the voters. Voter power is considered expensive to determine who and which political party is eligible to be elected.
Therefore, in the remaining period, all political parties and candidates need to campaign prudently, giving offers through a manifesto that can be implemented and not just on paper as has happened before.
No amount of political strategy can overcome voter choice. Therefore, voters are the king to determine the formation of the government and the future of the country. Voters must fulfill their responsibilities by going to the polls on November 19, to improve the country’s political landscape to be more stable and glorious.

Prof. Grandfather Dr. Ismail Sualman, School of Communication and Media College of Computing, Informatics and Media, MARA University of Technology.





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