Two ethnic Chinese-Malaysians likely to be elected to British Parliament
British voters are expected to elect the first two ethnic Chinese MPs to Parliament in its 800-year history during the upcoming general election.
The latest polls show that Chinese-Malaysians Alan Mak for the Conservatives and Labour candidate Sarah Owen will be voted to Westminster.
In total, 11 candidates of Chinese heritage are running in the May 7 election. About 400,000 ethnically Chinese people live in the UK.
“The first area of significance is that we’ve never had a Chinese MP. If this year we see Alan and Sarah come through, we’re on our way to break through the glass ceiling,” said Michael Wilkes, vice-chairman of the British Chinese Project.
“We have issues in the Chinese community that can only be helped by Chinese representatives,” he added.
In the seat in Hastings and Rye, where Owen is standing, Labour hopes to benefit from the Conservatives losing votes to the anti-immigration, anti-Europe UK Independence Party.
A Lord Ashcroft poll projected that Owen would pick up 40 per cent of the votes to 31 per cent for her Tory challenger. Mak, of the Conservatives, is running for what is considered a safe seat for his party. He is likely to replace a former minister who commanded a 51 per cent share of the votes in the last ballot.
British Chinese votes “including those based abroad in places like Hong Kong can be pivotal in the upcoming election”, said Jackson Ng, a Tory candidate in Liverpool Riverside and director of Conservative Friends of the Chinese.
Wilkes says data shows there are several constituencies in which thousands of voters of Chinese descent exist, and they will “will hold the keys to power”. His message to them: “You guys hold a lot of influence here, and if you all register and come out to vote on May 7, these candidates can’t ignore what you’re saying.”