It is learnt that these Chinese community leaders had also discussed issues concerning GE14.
“I dare say most of the leading Chinese community leaders I know support the BN. There is simply no other choice if you look at the political landscape. But as a matter of policy, we cannot state our stand publicly,” one community leader said.
While Chinese leaders have ruled out supporting PAS due to the hudud Bill, many of them felt that Pakatan is not ready to take over Putrajaya.
There is fear among Chinese community leaders that if MCA and Gerakan were to perform badly in GE14, Najib as Barisan president might invite PAS to join the coalition and the Government.
“The Chinese want political stability. As the opposition is too weak, it is not an alternative to BN,” says an observer.
Although community leaders are well aware of the criticisms against Barisan, in particular the controversies linked to 1MDB, they believe the PM should be given another chance to lead the country.
“We have discussed all the pros and cons. But like the huge forex losses incurred during Tun Mahathir’s time, we have to let the memory of the RM2.6bil go. We have to look forward and work for a better tomorrow,” adds the observer who is close to Chinese tycoons.
In fact, many Chinese leaders conclude that Najib has been “quite fair” to the Chinese.
Pheng says: “We have to look at the PM in totality. He has his weaknesses but as PM, his policies have been fair to the Chinese community. Tell me which PM has given so much allocations to the community and Chinese education?”
Pheng is open about his support for the PM. In fact, Hua Zong is organising a national conference of Chinese youths on Oct 21 and the keynote speaker is none other than Najib.
For the business community, the PM has won praises for bringing in Chinese investments.
Despite opposition from those who view Chinese investments with suspicion, Najib has gone ahead to engage with China on the Belt and Road initiative to bring in much-needed investments.
This China factor has somewhat revived confidence in the economy when Western investors shun Malaysia due to the 1MDB and other controversies. But the positive change in attitude of top Chinese leaders towards Najib is not announced openly as the sentiment on the ground may be different.
In the 2013 general election, only 13.5% Chinese voters supported the Government.
MCA and Gerakan leaders believe that Barisan could garner 30% support in GE14.
The dilemma for the Chinese now, though on a smaller scale, is quite similar to the situation before the general election in 1999.
After Mahathir sacked Anwar Ibrahim in Sept 1998, the country plunged into political turmoil with huge demonstrations calling for reforms.
Fearing political instability and the Chinese being made scapegoats, leaders from various guilds held a secret gathering and resolved that the community should support Dr Mahathir to win the 1999 election.