How Mahathir gerrymandered the 1999 election to secure Chinese votes

“The Malays had just about enough of Mahathirism and were willing to look towards PAS even if it meant subscribing to the party’s fundamentalist policies. Yet, PPBM’s Dato’ Rais Hussin insists that Mahathir’s ‘outstanding’ electoral performances proved the Malays supported him. Now, do I need to tell you why this guy tends to talk a helluva lot of kok? Is it not evident that the Chinese saved Mahathir’s ass during the 1999 general election?”

THE THIRD FORCE

Yesterday, Dato’ Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) rejected a claim by UMNO’s Tan Sri Annuar Musa that Malays supported Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his years as Prime Minister only because of UMNO and not the man himself. According to Rais, the fact that Mahathir “delivered five elections with two-thirds majority” was reason enough to believe that the Malays supported him.

Now, to see if Rais is telling us the truth or is relating to us another one of his moo points – you know, a cow’s opinion – we need to examine what it takes for the average Chinaman to vote in favour of UMNO and Barisan Nasional. Believe me, there is a very good reason we need to do this. To understand that reason, let’s ask ourselves the following:

How important is the Chinese and Malay vote to government?

Take a good look at the table below.

From the table, it is evident that the Chinese vote played a bigger role back in the eighties and nineties than it does today. As you can see, we’ve already surpassed the three-Malay-to-every-one-Chinaman ratio, meaning, the 2018 general election (GE14) is going to be more about the Malays than it will be about the Chinese. And by 2028, the DAP can kiss its ass goodbye.

Do you know why?

Because by then, all UMNO needs to do to secure a near two-thirds majority is focus on capturing a bulk of the Malay votes. By 2030, there will probably be seven Malays for every one Chinaman there is on the street. Tell me, do you think UMNO would want to know how that Chinaman feels should he persist on championing the DAP and its anti-Islamic agenda?

The Chinaman of today does not see this. He believes in Lim Kit Siang as he is not wise like the Chinaman of the fifties was. Back then, it was all about long term goals and the need to consolidate behind a party that was Chinese based to protect the community’s wealth and interests. Today, it’s all about Islam and exacting revenge on UMNO. When the Chinaman swung the pendulum towards the DAP in 2008, he forgot that the party was multiracial, not Chinese based.

By 2030, there would be that many Malays that the chances of one being DAP secretary general is not impossible. The MCA knows that the DAP can never avoid this from happening as the party is multiracial and not Chinese based. If the Chinese do not return to the MCA’s fold this general election (GE14), they will risk losing their right to an opinion forever as the MCA becomes irrelevant and the Malays unite to  infiltrate and destroy the DAP from within.

Once that happens, where will the Chinese go?

Was it always like this?

No.

Back in the nineties, there were roughly two Malays for every one Chinaman, meaning, every Chinese vote counted a lot to Mahathir. To please the community, he leaned the economy in its favour by giving certain Chinese billionaires monopoly of various business sectors. However, he made sure that those billionaires (who he himself created) came under the heels of ultra-Malay capitalists – the likes of Daim Zainuddin – who made sure that they themselves benefited from the Chinese economy.

Now, it is not as if the Malays didn’t see this happening. Towards the second half of the nineties, Mahathir had become very unpopular among them as PAS began accusing him of running government in very un-Islamic ways. There were even those who accused him of emulating Abd-Allah Ibn Ubayy, a hypocritical “leader of the Munafiqun” who encouraged Muslims to renounce Islam following the death of the Prophet Muhammad.

As if that weren’t damaging enough, the unceremonious sacking of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim – then regarded by the Malays to be a personification of progressive Islam – dealt a severe blow to Mahathir as Malay youths started reflecting on what PAS had said about him. They decided that PAS was correct in its assessment and began leaning in favour of the Islamic party. To safeguard his regime, the Prime Minister saw no choice but to gerrymander the 1999 general election in his favour.

So what did Mahathir do?

  1. He effected the dissolution of Parliament on the 11th of November 1999 to prevent 680,000 youth – then assumed to be reform-oriented – from casting ballots
  2. He decided that the 300,000 or so Chinese votes – which amounted to 20 percent of total votes – were too crucial to be lost.
  3. He also decided not to table the budget until the 29th of October 1999 to ensure that the review process would stretch beyond the general election.

To secure the Chinese ballot, he undertook to do the following:

  1. He got Zhu Rongji to endorse his achievements by getting the then Chinese premier to visit Malaysia from the 22nd to the 26th of November 1999. The visit conveniently overlapped with the eight-day election campaign which the Election Commission announced would begin on the 21st of November 1999.
  2. He began praising the performance of Chinese schools and got the Tun Abdul Razak University to recognize diplomas from Chinese schools as valid certificates to qualify students for entrance exams.
  3. He praised the Chinese for their “immense contribution to the economy of the country and wellbeing of the nation.”
  4. He told the Chinese that PAS planned to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State in the event it came into power. According to him, the Islamist party would forbid non-Muslims from consuming alcohol and force all women to veil themselves in public. He added that the Islamic Penal Code would be enforced on Muslims and non-Muslims alike and would trigger “the accident that occurred on May 16.”

The outcome?

Well, just take a look at the 1999 general election results and compare them with results of the previous poll.

As evident from the table above, the Malays had just about enough of Mahathirism and were willing to look towards PAS even if it meant subscribing to the party’s fundamentalist policies. Yet, PPBM’s Dato’ Rais Hussin insists that Mahathir’s ‘outstanding’ electoral performances proved the Malays supported him. Now, do I need to tell you why this guy tends to talk a helluva lot of kok? Is it not evident that the Chinese saved Mahathir’s ass during the 1999 general election?

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