There is no doubt a large number of the Malay community has an endearing love for the United Malays National Organisation or Umno, the party that won the country’s independence from the Mat Saleh or white men (British), and the unconditional support its leader Najib Razak will garner from some quarters.
But that is not putting the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat off, with Member of Parliament Rafizi Ramli saying the opposition alliance can win 97 of 222 seats if the election was called this month.
Citing Invoke Malaysia’s numbers, Rafizi said that was assuming there is a three-cornered contests against Najib’s alliance and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, or PAS, which had joined the opposition bloc in the last national election.
On a different note, Rafizi estimates that Pakatan Harapan could win as many as 116 seats if the election is held in six months if it manages a five percent swing in support from ethnic Malays.
To do that, it’s planning targeted campaign messages for voters based on age, gender, race, religion and voting history, as well as where they live.
“We are aiming for efficiency — we’re not going in blind when we approach the constituents,” Rafizi said. “We know who we’re talking to, and what they want to hear.”
Invoke Malaysia is an NGO launched by Rafizi Ramli, and it carries out surveys on Malaysia’s political situation, questioning the respondents on their thought on elections, the Hudud, etc.
Rafizi says Invoke’s numbers tell a different story from what Malaysia has seen so far, that is a resilient Prime Minister Najib Razak who battled it out against allegations over allegations in the 1MDB scandal.
The group’s telephone surveys and analysis of voting patterns in competitive districts suggest that support has fallen among ethnic Malays for Najib’s UMNO.
The opposition alliance, known as Pakatan Harapan, could take power if it swing Malay votes and sees high turnout from ethnic Chinese and Indians, Rafizi said.
“The drop in Malay support for UMNO benefits PH the most as we are expected to get the largest share of the non-Malay votes,” he said, adding that voters wouldn’t automatically switch to the opposition.
And his secret weapons are to talk to the younger generation and to attack Najib incessantly in his speeches.