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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Poll Position: George Bush favored over BN

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And that, boys & girls, pretty much sums up how readers of myAsylum feel about BN - they'd rather vote for Dubya. Counting all the percentages for BN-related choices (a whopping total of 9%), George Jr. actually got a whole 5% more. But the biggest and most unanimous choice - DAP (46%).

Image hosting by PhotobucketDAP - the 46% choice of straw poll respondents

Now, Walski is not in any way claiming that myAsylum readers are representive of the entire Malaysia, and perhaps being an English-language blog, it may not get the viewership from the more Malay-centric demographics. But let's take a look at who voted and where, within Malaysia.
(demographical analysis, and more, in the full post)

Image hosting by PhotobucketWhere the votes came from (within Malaysia)

Not surprisingly, the votes came from the urban areas - where English is spoken, and where (Walski reckons) there is a higher prevalence of Internet usage.

And this hints at why UMNO is so jittery about the Internet - they are losing the urban mindshare, going by the poll results. That is one conclusion that Walski can draw. This has pretty much been echoed by political secretary to the Second Finance Minister, Datuk Norza Zakaria (who is also the UMNO Youth head for the Federal Territories), in a Malaysiakini article yesterday - albeit not in so many words (emphasis by myAsylum):

The government is worried that false allegations spread through the Internet can be used against Barisan Nasional in the coming general elections, according to Umno supreme council member Norza Zakaria.

His comments come in the wake of growing concerns that there will be a crackdown on political bloggers.

Norza, 41, who is also the Federal Territories Umno Youth wing chief, however said the government does not feel ‘threatened’ by such blogs.

“I don’t think (the government is threatened). It’s just that there is concern about untrue stories and allegations being used against the government in the elections,” he said during an interview with malaysiakini at his Finance Ministry office in Putrajaya yesterday.

(source: Malaysiakini - subscription required)

This is, of course, the same guy that called for the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) on bloggers.

Again, the synonymity of BN being the Government, and vice versa, can be read between the lines. Not surprising, of course - this mindset being the toll that 50 years of almost unchallenged BN/UMNO hegemony has taken. The Government worried about BN?

In a video that accompanies the Malaysiakini article mentioned above, Norza mentioned about the danger of "sensitive" matters being discussed online, calling it a "sentiment time bomb". Well, the last time Walski checked, it has been UMNO that has been more guilty than others going around using racial sentiments to bolster its own position. The netizens, as far as Walski knows, haven't gone out on a rampage over what's been written in the blogs.

But be that as it may, does Walski think the straw poll reflects the possible outcome of the next GE? Likely, not. But what is more probable is that UMNO/BN will suffer greater poll loses compared to the last General Election in 2004. For the urban, and perhaps more forward thinking segment of the population, DAP does, perhaps speak for a more equitable Malaysia, versus BN/UMNO's Ketuanan Melayu Uber Alles stance. Perpetuation of an NEP that is race-based, as championed by UMNO, and not needs-based, for one, is an area that is becoming a losing battle for UMNO in the minds of the urban Malaysians. It's just that UMNO refuses to realize this - that poverty and hardship do not belong solely to the Malays.

Another area where UMNO fails to win the urban mindshare is in the ideal of a Bangsa Malaysia - a united Malaysian People. It is something that BN's rhetoric seems to support, but almost in the same breath, prominent UMNO personalities will be the first to lambast it. The negative reaction by ZAM to the recent Merdeka Statement is a good example (myAsylum will focus more on The Merdeka Statement in a future post).

And would George W. Bush be successful if he were to enter the coming Malaysian GE? Again, the answer is probably NO. Another conclusion that Walski draws from the poll is that a vote for Bush reflects a segment of the population that doesn't like how BN has been performing, and at the same time cannot see a viable alternative in any of the political parties around. Either that, or the poll respondents were confused, not realizing that the poll was in the context of Malaysia.

All things considered, the next General Elections is definitely going to be an interesting one. If for no other reason, to see who breaks the "no racial sentiments" rule first. And also to see how well Dubya does...