By : JOE FERNANDEZ
THE NON-CHINESE in Malaya are both split and confused by the politics as they head for the polling booths. When people are confused, they will vote the way they did the last time.
The Malays in Malaya are clearly split down the middle. They are caught between two equally strong political groups i.e. PKR/Pas and Umno.
They see themselves as having been done in as individuals by Umno and getting nowhere as a community in the retail economy, for example, because of corruption, deviations and distortions on the part of the ruling elite in cahoots with proxy Chinese businessmen.
Hence, they seem to be forever dependent on lowly-paid government jobs and the government sector, subsidies and handouts, virtually like a beggar community, and getting sick of it. The Malays no longer want to have anything to do with the dependency syndrome foisted on them since 1957 by Umno.
They are even more sickened by the porn material which Umno employs in its campaigns and its constant harping on the sex life of various Opposition leaders.
The party is seen as morally depraved, increasingly bankrupt in its politics and desperate.
The party has become notorious for being inundated with all sorts of unsavoury characters or linked with them. Wanita Umno Chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Noordin in the lunatic fringe readily come to mind.
The split in the Malay community has forced the Chinese to evaluate whether to support PKR/Pas as their Malay allies or back Umno through BN.
They see the writing on the wall for Umno after 56 years.
Hence, the Chinese decision from Kangar in Perlis to Tawau in Sabah to back Dap and in its absence the party's Malay allies i.e. PKR and Pas. Mahathir has tried to discredit Dap as a racist party fielding candidates only in Chinese-majority seats.
That's the same thing being done by Umno in Malay-majority seats, a point which Mahathir chose to ignore as he threw tantrums in public.
The Malays meanwhile will find it difficult to vote for Indians and Chinese in Malaya fielded by BN in seats where they (Malays) form the single biggest group but still less than 50 per cent. All these seats will fall to Malay candidates fielded by PKR/Pas and supported by Dap. Besides, Malays have come to detest the MIC and MCA in particular as racist parties thriving on Umno, the mother of all racist parties.
This means that the non-Umno BN parties in Malaya will either be wiped out -- read MIC, PPP, Gerakan -- or will be virtually -- read MCA -- wiped out. MCA may win as little as five parliamentary seats in Malaya.
The Suluks in Sabah are split down the middle and this is not due to the Lahad Datu intrusion. The Suluks and to an extent the Bajau are unhappy with Umno.
They have been unhappy for a very long time over their increasing marginalisation and disenfranchisement by the continuing influx of the Bugis illegal immigrants in particular into areas along the east coast where they had traditionally squatted since from even Malaysia in 1963.
The Suluks are from the nearby Sulu Archipelago in the Philippines, the Bugis are from Sulawesi in Indonesia. Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is a Bugis with, it's suspected, some Dutch blood in Indonesia and Indian in Malaysia. The skeletons in the family cupboard are beginning to tumble out into the open.
The Orang Asal (original people) are for Parti Bersatu Sabah and Star only as they see too many parties splitting up the community and weakening its political clout. Upko, except for Bernard Dompok in Penampang, and PBRS may not survive the 13th GE.
Umno will lose its Orang Asal, including Muslim, seats in Sabah. The majority of the Orang Asal are Christians when they are not practising an ancient form of Hinduism, mistaken by western scholars in the past as paganism/animism.
In Sarawak, more Bidayuh and Orang Ulu have joined the Chinese to turn against Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, a Melanau, who has stubbornly refused to step down after 30 years despite publicly pledging to do so during the 2011 state election. Mas Gading (Bidayuh) and Baram (Orang Ulu) will be the barometers.
It will be interesting to see how the Ibans vote this time considering the growing anti-Taib feeling among the Bidayuh and Orang Ulu.
The Melanau are still with Taib.
The Sarawak Malays are increasingly unhappy with Taib and the Melanau. It remains to be seen whether PKR and Pas can translate this into votes for them. The Sarawak Malays are actually mainly Bidayuh living along the coasts of the 1st Division and mainly Iban living along the coasts of the other Divisions who converted to Islam over the last 300 years.
If 15 or 16 parliamentary seats in Sarawak fall to PR, it will be clearly seen as virtually a revolt against Taib. A day before polling, PR was certain of five parliamentary seats, and cautiously optimistic in another two to four seats.
New and young voters everywhere in Malaysia can be expected to largely vote for the Opposition. These are the ones who are sure to turn up at the polling stations.
The Opposition will win the popular vote on May 5 but this may not translate into 112 seats for PR to enable it to take Putrajaya.
It has been estimated that Umno/BN can obtain 112 parliamentary seats with as little as 18.9 per cent of the votes cast. This is due to the many tiny seats where Umno dominates. Putrajaya for example has only 15,000 voters, up from the 6,000 not so long ago. There are many Putrajaya-like parliamentary and state seats in Malaysia.
It is by no means clear at this juncture whether Star will win enough parliamentary seats in Sabah to help PR make up the difference to secure 112 seats. Star may pick up Mas Gading in Sarawak.
Star chairman Jeffrey Kitingan has said that his party will support whichever coalition can form the Federal Government in Putrajaya. Jeffrey made it clear however that he hopes PR, rather than BN, makes it to Putrajaya. Star's support for ruling coalition will be confined to Parliament and would not mean the party joining the Federal Government.
If PR takes Putrajaya, there might be crossovers in that case from non-Umno Sabah BN to Star and from Sabah Umno to PKR.
Star is set to be a player in the next Sabah state government no matter who forms it.
Umno may be forced to emulate PKR post-May 5 and open its doors in Malaya to Indians and Chinese instead of trying to revive the failed BN component parties.
Hindraf Malaysia Association (Himas) members led by chairman P. Waythamoorthy are likely to be among the first Indians to join Umno.
The same cannot be said of hardcore Hindraf Makkal Sakthi activists. The ad hoc apolitical human rights movement is also led by Waythamoorthy but he has to contend here with P. Uthayakumar, his elder brother and the movement's de facto chief as a key founder.
Waythamoorthy, it's feared, fell into a trap set by Umno when he signed a MOU recently with BN on some modest concessions for the Indians, long smarting under internal colonisation policies.
Many analysts see the MOU as a pretext by Umno to indulge in massive electoral fraud.
We will know before midnight on May 5.
If PR takes Putrajaya by some miracle, Mahathir can be expected to drop dead from a massive heart attack. This won't be surprising considering that he's a control freak in the extreme.
Already, doctors have been warning that those caught up too much in following the race to Putrajaya risk heart attacks, either out of excitement or disappointment.