Disappointed with the politicians for causing turmoil during a health crisis.
Chinese voters in Malacca may not turn up to vote in the elections next month due to lingering concerns about Covid-19, local leaders said.
There are 28 seats in the Malacca assembly with the Chinese dominant seats in Bemban, Bandar Hilir, Duyong, Kota Laksamana, Kesidang and Ayer Keroh.
Leaders from these areas said the upcoming polls have been a source of constant talk among residents at coffee shops, and many agreed that there were risks involved in going out to vote.
Apart from the health fears, they were also fed up with politicians and their selfish attitude in calling for the elections.
They added that, even if they did go out to vote, there was a possibility that they would cast a spoiled vote.
Former Bukit Beruang village head Yap Son Chung said seven out of 10 villagers were reluctant to vote.
Chung said the villagers were disappointed with the politicians for causing turmoil during a health crisis.
Even though most of the villagers are vaccinated, they are not confident of protection should they go out to vote, he said.
“Whether in the coffee shops or in the markets, the villagers are talking about their reluctance to vote. This is the stance of the people of Malacca,” Chung told The Malaysian Insight.
“The people here are worried about more infections, as happened after the Sabah elections.
“People are also unwilling to allow elderly relatives, who are at particular risk, to go out and vote.
“This election is unnecessary, and I believe the turnout will be low,” he said, adding that he had also explained to the villagers that the vaccine was not available when the Sabah elections were held.
Chung said the villagers were especially unhappy with the four assemblymen who pulled their support for Chief Minister Sulaiman Md Ali and caused the fiasco in the first place.
The villagers will not vote for these four individuals and if any political parties take them in, they will be killing their chances too, Chung said.
Former chief minister Idris Haron (Sungai Udang-BN), Nor Azman Hassan (Pantai Kundor-BN), Noor Effandi Ahmad (Telok Mas-PN) and Norhizam Hassan Baktee (Pengkalan Batu-Ind) withdrew support for Sulaiman earlier this month, leading to the collapse of the state government.
Malacca will go to the polls on November 20, with nomination day set for November 8.
Former Sg Udang village head Ee Kian Nam said these elections were only being held for the personal interest of certain politicians and it was completely unnecessary.
“Those around me have said they do not want to participate in the election during the epidemic as they are worried about getting infected. They are also unhappy with the politicians who treat them like fools. They’re angry.
“The people are suffering, and these politicians just keep switching sides. They are already discouraged by the politics and to them, these snap elections are a waste of time,” he said.
Ee said political “frogs” were especially unforgivable.
“Voters have decided that they will vote based on the candidates. If it is a frog, they will not go out to vote.”
Kesidang resident Astrid Lye, 38, said the governor should not have dissolved the assembly to begin with and should have solved it through negotiations.
“I will take time off to go back and vote and I will bring my mother, 72, to vote in her area as well, but if there is no proper SOP at the centre, I will not allow her to go. I’m not willing to take the risk.
“The vaccine doesn’t mean we won’t get infected. Malacca has entered the fourth phase of recovery and the flow of people into the state has increased sharply.
“We are worried that this will lead to another wave of infections.”
Lye said her vote will depend on the candidate’s service record and their political party.
“In the past few years, the preservation of historical sites in Malacca and the drive to increase tourism have been disproportionate.
“As locals, we don’t want to see the historical sites being sacrificed for the sake of economic development and tourism.
“I want to vote for a candidate who will work hard for Malacca. I don’t want to vote for parties or candidates who are in it for profit.”
Meanwhile, Cally Teng, 39, a voter in Ayer Keroh, who works as a hotel attendant in Kuala Lumpur, said she will not go back home to vote.
“I have a two-year-old child and I was just allowed to come back to Kuala Lumpur after the interstate travel ban was lifted. I don’t want to ask for leave.
“If I go back to vote, I also need to do a Covid-19 test in case I bring the virus back here. For the sake of my family’s health and safety, I don’t want to take the risk.”
She also agreed that the elections could have been avoided.
Teng has no hope for the state’s political affairs, as this is the second time the state government has collapsed after GE14.
She just wants to keep her job and ease the family’s financial burden.
In the 2018 polls, DAP won the battle of Chinese parties by defeating MCA in the six Chinese dominant seats of Bemban, Bandar Hilir, Duyong, Kota Laksamana, Kesidang and Ayer Keroh.
In the other two seats, DAP faced MIC and Gerakan. In the Gadek seat, DAP won by a narrow majority of 307 over MIC.
In the Pengkalan Batu seat, DAP defeated Gerakan by a 2,756-vote majority. However, Norhizam, who contested on a DAP ticket, quit in 2020 to become an independent in support of BN.
DAP has to convince voters
Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong said the biggest challenge for the party was to convince unwilling people to cast their vote.
Khoo said it was imperative that DAP changed people’s minds because they played a big part in the polls.
“These are unnecessary elections, but since they have to be held, the Election Commission has put in place strict standard operating procedures.
“We hope that the EC will explain these measures to the political parties so we can keep the voters safe and not have a repeat of Sabah.”
The Sabah elections in September last year saw the resurgence Covid-19 cases nationwide after the numbers were successfully brought under control by a lockdown the previous March.
Khoo added that the EC can also learn from other countries in conducting the Malacca polls.
A three-cornered fight in the state will also benefit DAP, he said.
Meanwhile, former Kota Melaka MP Sim Tong Him said that when he spoke with voters at the coffee shops, the general consensus was that they were disappointed in politics.
“They are disappointed and distressed by the current situation. They voted to save Malaysia in 2018 but will these elections save Malacca?
“It’s completely unnecessary, and voters are saying they won’t go out and vote and, even if they did, it will be to cast spoiled votes because these are the same old faces.
“Elderly voters have to queue up from early in the morning only to vote for an incompetent government. They would rather not.”
Sim said had Pakatan Harapan seized the opportunity to implement the anti-hopping bill while it was still in government, they wouldn’t be in this predicament.
He added that if PH accepted “frogs”, it would further frustrate voters who already feel that they can’t trust politicians, and thus lead to more chaos.
DAP has announced that it will not accept Norhizam contesting under PH’s banner.
PH said it would want to restore Amanah’s Adly Zahari as chief minister if the coalition wins. Adly held the post after the 2018 general election.
Young voters are tired of political frogs
Malacca MCA Youth chairman Lee Han Lim said young voters in the state had had enough of politics and have no interest in voting.
“Speaking to the young voters in the state, I get the impression that they are tired of the political frogs who keep jumping around for their own interest even if that means a change in government.
“These frogs have no regard for the safety of the people.”
Many young people still feel that the infections in the country are too high and need to be brought under control before we can think of having an election, Lee said.
Similarly, they also feel that economic recovery must come first, he added.
Lee said while there are those who are ready to go out and cast their votes, they don’t know who to vote for and they also don’t know if it is worth the risk of infection. – TMI