Merdeka Center: Money issues matter more to Malays than rallies, whether ‘red shirts’ or Bersih

A Merdeka Center survey showed that 53 per cent of Malay voters were not in favour of the ‘Red Shirt’ rally. — File pic

Malay Mail Online | KUALA LUMPUR, 15-Sept-2015 — Malay voters are more concerned with the rocketing cost of living than attending street protests like Bersih 4 or tomorrow’s high-profile “red shirt” rally touted as a means to uphold their racial dignity, independent pollster Merdeka Center said today.

The research company released a survey today that showed 53 per cent of Malay voters were not in favour of the “Red Shirt” rally called “Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu” [United People’s Rally], while a previous survey indicated that 70 per cent of Malays opposed the Bersih 4 demonstration last month.

“In our opinion, this survey which follows an earlier one related to the August 29th Bersih 4 rally, reveals that Malay voters were largely not attracted to the issues promoted by the organisers by both rallies (i.e. Bersih 4 and Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu),” Merdeka Center said in a statement.

“In our view, Malay voters are at present largely more concerned over fundamental issues such as cost of living, employment and business opportunities as well as the impact of the Goods and Services Tax.

“While the rally may result in a sizable attendance, the survey results suggest that the turnout would be reflective of the mobilisation efforts of its organizers rather than a broad-based participation of the Malay electorate,” the pollster added.

The survey on Malay sentiments towards the “Red Shirt” rally, which was conducted in both urban and rural areas across peninsular Malaysia, showed that the majority who opposed the “Red Shirt” rally cited fears that the demonstration on Malaysia Day tomorrow would create chaos and spark ethnic tensions.

Merdeka Center’s previous survey released on August 28, a day before the overnight Bersih 4 protest by polls reform group Bersih 2.0, showed that Malaysians were split over the demonstration for institutional reforms, with most of those in support of it comprising the non-Malays who live in cities and use the Internet.

The authorities have allowed the September 16 rally, organised by Malay martial arts group Pesaka, to be held at Padang Merbok in the capital city.

There has been mixed messaging over the rally, with the Coalition of Malay NGOs selling red T-shirts promoting the demonstration with slogans in Bahasa Malaysia like “Malay Dignity Uprising” and calling it “Himpunan Maruah Melayu” [Malay Dignity Rally].

Rally organiser Pesaka, however, has insisted that the event is called “Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu” [United People’s Rally] and that it is open to all Malaysians. The silat group has also said that there was no “red shirt” dress code.

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