Indian votes crucial in mixed seats

I recently spoke to many Indian friends and they are almost unanimous in their support of Hindraf. Many of them also have started reading Malaysiakini on a regular basis.

During elections, when the strong winds blow it can sometimes create a lot of unexpected defeats and victories. With these sentiments prevailing, many of BN’s urban seats will be in trouble. Although there are few constituencies where Indians are the majority, there are many seats where their sizeable presence often tilts the balance and decides the result, especially in so-called ‘mixed seats’.

Let us take an hypothetical urban parliament seat, X. Let’s say that there are 60,000 registered voters - 50% Chinese, 35% Malay and 15% Indian - assuming the the ruling party’s 10,000 vote margin of winning in the last elections. To change the results, 5,001 votes is needed. 15% of Indian votes is equivalent to 9,000 voters. If 80% of these votes change sides, the election results will be changed accordingly.

Based on the latest electoral roll, there are about 50 parliamentary seats with more than 10% Indian votes. In Kuala Lumpur, Segambut has about 12% Indian voters, Batu, 14.3% and Lembah Pantai, 18%. In Penang, Batu Kawan has about 22% Indian voters, Bagan, 13% and Nibong Tebal, 14%. In Perak, Teluk Intan and Tapah has about 19% Indian voters, Beruas 13.7%, Ipoh Barat and Sungei Siput more than 20%, Taiping, 13%, and many other seats with more than 10% Indian voters.

In all these areas, it is crucial to win Indian votes especially BN’s non-Malay component parties which are given most of these seats to contest. There is no doubt that BN will win the next elections. For Umno, rural seats are still a safe bet. But for the sake of other component parties, perhaps some of Umno’s leaders should adopt more conciliatory tones and policies towards the urban non-Malay voters.

It won’t be good for the nation and the people if Umno wins most of its seats but BN’s non-Malay component parties lose most of their seats.