KUALA LUMPUR (April 14, 2009) : The Barisan Nasional's defeats in two by-elections in the peninsula were due to a number of factors, and to put the blame on Chinese voters is not fair to them, says Hua Zong (Federation of Chinese Associations of Malaysia) honorary secretary Teh Eng Hin.
Teh said it is a long-term process for political parties to serve the people to win their hearts, and dishing out goodies on the eve of elections is no longer the sure-fire way to win votes, Oriental Daily reported today.
He was commenting on Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's remark in an interview with Mingguan Malaysia which quoted him as saying that the Chinese had been unappreciative of BN and voted for Pakatan Rakyat in two recent by-elections.
Teh said factors that determine the result of a by-election include the calibre of the candidates, their political views and track record.
The voters have the rights to choose their candidates based on various indicators available and it is not incumbent upon them to give BN their votes in return for the "benefits" farmed out in the run-up to the election.
Political parties, he said, which want to receive the public's continued support should take a serious view of the problems faced by the people, work for the people and treat every citizen fairly, including supporters of rival parties.
He felt that providing services and giving out grants only when there is an election is an outdated way of winning votes, as it no long works on voters who are well aware of their democratic rights.
He urged the BN to seriously review the reasons for its loss in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary and Bukit Selambau state by-elections and to work towards endearing itself to the people instead of looking for excuses for its defeats.
He said the two seats were under BN prior to the March 8 general election last year, which showed that the Chinese voters had once supported the BN.
BN must do some soul-searching to find out why the switch in support, he said.
Teh hoped that at a time when the country is facing the global economic slowdown, the prime minister, his deputy and the rest of the country's leaders would try to unite all races so that they will join forces to revitalise the national economy, and not engaged in finger-pointing.