PETALING JAYA: More local Chinese businessmen are likely to back the Barisan Nasional government in the coming general election, a political and economic analyst has predicted.
Prof Hoo Ke Ping said this was because of the challenging business environment and fear of hudud being implemented in the country.
He said these millionaires were once ardent Opposition supporters, but now hoped to stop any Umno-PAS liaison shaping up a hudud policy in the country.
“In the 1990s, a lot of big-time Chinese millionaires were doing well. They told the small-time businessmen to support the Opposition.
“Now these same Chinese businessmen are changing their stand. At the top level, it is happening fast.
“They are scared as their livelihood is under threat. If they support the Barisan Nasional government, they hope to stop hudud and get the economy going,” he told FMT.
In the last general election, the BN government was said to have lost the support of many Chinese voters.
Despite all the negative reports on the economy and state-owned investment arm 1MDB, local Chinese businessmen want to stay on in Malaysia to do business because “it is easier to make a livelihood here”, said Hoo.
“If they go to Hong Kong, the economy is not doing very well there.
“Some of them do business in Malaysia and China. But China’s economy is also not doing very well.”
Hoo brushed off reports of more local Chinese migrating overseas due to the political instability.
He said the professionals were those who were migrating and not the businessmen.
“The number of Chinese businessmen taking their business overseas is very small in number.”
He said a massive wave of migration was recorded after the 1969 racial riots, with many Chinese tycoons taking their business overseas for the sake of their business and family security.
However, he said some of them had returned as “they realised it is easier to make money here”.
“The people we may have lost are the professionals. They may not want to come back.”
The likelihood of hudud being implemented in Malaysia was hotly debated after talk about cooperation between the two Malay-Muslim parties resurfaced after last year’s Umno General Assembly, which saw party president Najib Razak offering an olive branch to one of its fiercest rivals, PAS.
In his policy speech, Najib offered to foster closer ties with PAS to develop the nation in accordance with Islamic tenets. – FMT