For the first time in the country’s electoral history, overseas non-civil servant Malaysians were allowed to vote in the respective locations where they resided. Voting took place at Malaysian consulates or embassies in India, Australia, the UK and China. A survey at polling centres in London, Melbourne and Perth saw at least 69% of the voters favouring Pakatan as the government of Malaysia for the next four to five years. Only 3.90% of voters surveyed in Melbourne disclosed their preference for BN to remain in power.

Seventy out of 76 surveyed respondents in Los Angeles voted for Pakatan, which is the highest percentage among the four locations at 92.11%. The sentiment of overseas voters’ voting trend was echoed in the elections back home. Five point six million or 50.87% voted for Pakatan, and 5.2 million or 47.38% voted for BN, but the number of parliamentary seats won were 89 and 133 respectively.

Nine questions were asked in the survey to identify voters’ value and attitude towards politics and the government. Seven distinct groups were identified; among them were the Disgruntled White Collar group and the Insecure Underclass group.

These two groups were chosen for this analysis to highlight the different demographic groups that different voter typologies belong to. Fifty-seven per cent of the Disgruntled White Collar group consist of non-Bumiputera citizens. Forty-nine per cent earn more than RM3,000 a month and 68% stay in urban areas. On the contrary, the Insecure Underclass had an 82% Bumiputera representation; only 24% earn more than RM3,000 a month and 54% stay in urban areas.

The different demographics lead to a difference in political leaning and perception towards the government.

Question: Is the government spending money prudently?

Fifty-one per cent of the Insecure Underclass agreed that the government is spending money prudently, with 17% of them strongly agreeing to the statement. The response from the Disgruntled White Collar group was extremely different, with only nine per cent agreeing with the statement. The rest of the group disagreed, with more than half strongly disagreeing with it.

The Disgruntled White Collar group may be highly unsatisfied with government spending as it does not receive as much government aid as the Insecure Underclass. This is because the group is from a higher income level and consists mostly of non-Bumiputera. The information both groups receive about the government is vastly different, which also contributed to the difference in opinion. The Disgruntled White Collar group accesses channels of information such as pro-opposition websites and other printed publications, whereas the insecure underclass may rely mainly on pro-government publications.

According to a survey conducted on perception towards the Election Commission (EC), slightly less than half of the respondents believed that the EC exercises its tasks fairly and freely, while respondents who said otherwise and were not sure amounted to 31% and 21%, respectively. On the other hand, slightly more than half of the respondents agreed that the EC is in the process of transforming its organisation body to be transparent.

The recent General Election results showed a number of candidates who won their seats with a majority of 30,000 to 51,000 votes. According to a survey conducted in 2012 as shown in Figure 2, more voters would vote based on their party preference as compared to their preference for a candidate.

The percentage of voters who were not sure of their voting preference was very low at eight per cent.

People would vote by referring to the party as they wanted to change to a new government regardless of who the candidate of the parliament and state would be1.

Question: How satisfied or dissatisfied are youwith the government's role in curbing racist statements and sentiments recently?

According to a survey held in early 2013, only 39% of respondents were satisfied with the way the government handles race-related statements and sentiments in Malaysia. Meanwhile, 51% of the total 1,021 surveyed respondents were dissatisfied and the remaining 10% said that they were unsure.

More than half of the Chinese and Indians surveyed said that the government did not effectively curb racial statements and sentiments. On the other hand, the difference in percentage between Malays that responded “yes” and “no” was relatively low.

Gehl Architects recommended in a study in 1993 to revitalise the city of Melbourne by transforming laneways and streets into public spaces. The objective was to encourage urban dwellers to use public spaces to engage in different activities. In 2004, Gehl Architects did a second study to provide direct comparison with the previous study. It also serves as future reference for the development of the city of Melbourne.

Pedestrian counts were conducted at midblock between Lonsdale and Little Lonsdale Streets. Figure 4 shows an increase in pedestrians for both weekdays and weekends at Swanston Street. The biggest increase is during weekdays from 6pm-12pm – an increase of almost 2.5 times. Wider footpaths, the planting of trees and the mushrooming of kerbside cafes have made public life more vibrant in general. The increase in public life at Swanston Street can be further attributed to the redevelopment of Queen Victoria Hospital, which was turned into a retail area. The increase in students from the nearby RMIT University and residential developments also translated into more pedestrians using the street.

A similar study was conducted in Adelaide, albeit in different years. The data presents the difference in the number of people engaged in stationary activities at a busy street in Rundle Mall, Adelaide. Stationary activities include standing, sitting on benches, sitting at outdoor cafes or watching a gig.

The redesigning of public spaces may see fewer people using a particular street, as public activities can be diverted to newly developed areas. Much fewer people were recorded standing from 10am-6pm. This suggests that people may have chosen other locations as a meeting point with friends during that time frame. The number of stationary activities increased from 6pm-10pm, suggesting that people still used Rundle Mall as an after-work meeting point. The number of people seated at outdoor cafes also increased during that time frame.

Extracted from "Our vote is for the party", Priscilla Prasena.

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