MCA and Gerakan, the two Barisan Nasional (BN) parties representing the Chinese community in the ruling coalition are fighting hard to regain lost ground, against all odds as the opposition DAP go on a fishing spree.
MCA which is Chinese-based and Gerakan which is multi-racial but Chinese-based seem to be losing the psychological war in winning the hearts and minds of the community as the opposition DAP has managed to do that based on racial sentiments, the basis it has failed to do the past 50 years.
With growing resentment against the ruling BN from the Chinese community, DAP gains much leverage while the MCA tries hard to stand its ground and Gerakan still lost in oblivion as the party has no specific direction.
Penang is still a far-fetch goal for BN as Gerakan and MCA have much work to do to win back the trust of the community, which had moved to DAP following the 2008 political tsunami wave.
Until today, both the parties do not know ‘what hit them’ – as to why the community rejected them when economic development benefitted the community while the Malays were shouting of being sidelined by the ruling Gerakan during those time.
Malays have never had it good in Penang, particularly on the island as their only dominant place ‘visible to the world’ is Balik Pulau, just beside the rapid economic development spot of Bayan Lepas.
Yet, the Chinese community still complaint of being ignored and Gerakan and MCA was voted out and only Umno managed to hold on their respective state seats.
With the 13th general election around the corner, the race is on and MCA and Gerakan are pushing hard despite having nothing to offer the Chinese community as it seems at present.
Highlighting the purported secret affair of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng does not benefit much as the episode has not erode much of Lim’s influence and support from within the community.
The debates which he had with MCA president Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek had also not moved any influence to his side nor erodes his influence - its status quo – as some Chinese voters said.
While Gerakan has yet to find any real issues that can help erode DAP’s support in Penang, MCA has gone far forward trying to ‘untie the knots’ that bind the community to DAP.
However, MCA’s effort is not confined to Penang alone but the whole country in general as the party sees the community is going further from the traditional BN platform.
Thus far, the party has yet to gain much ground and is still fighting hard.
Given such a situation, it is back to BN chairman and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak to shoulder the burden of regaining lost ground, the job he has been doing since he took over the premiership in 2009.
Knowing that MCA and Gerakan have lost support from the community, Najib goes all out to help them win back confidence and trust by meeting their demands and needs.
Najib has been going round meeting people, introducing transformation programmes and fulfilling pledges and promises made during the 2008 general election to regain lost influence and trust.
While support and reception of Najib’s actions have been tremendous, the question that lingers even among Umno leaders and members is: “Are those that we see and have seen are real and can it be translated into votes?”
And Najib’s ‘engagement’ with young voters through the modern media tool such as facebook and twitter received positive responses that encourages and inspires the youngsters.
Again the same question being asked by supporters of both sides of the political divide when they talk about support and influence.
And Najib’s new approaches to gain trust and confidence of the Chinese community is getting some backlash from the Malays although this is seen as minimal.