China-Malaysia Relations as a Campaign Strategy: The BN Prime Ministers’ Understanding of China and the Ethnic Chinese
Keywords:Malaysia-China Relations, Elections, Chinese
During the administration of the Barisan Nasional in Malaysia, three Prime Ministers, namely Abdul Razak, Mahathir Mohamad and Najib Razak, strategically incorporated the China factor to attract the support of the Chinese voters in their respective election campaigns. These campaigns took place in 1974, 1999, and 2013. It appeared that the Prime Ministers perceived a preference among the Chinese community for China, despite the Chinese were born in Malaysia or had been granted Malaysian citizenship. Thus, Razak, Mahathir and Najib’s understanding of China and Chinese voters played a crucial role in shaping their decision to employ diplomatic relations as a campaign strategy.