There are people who are misguided enough to think that the popularity of Red shirt Thanksin faction can be replicated in Malaysia to extend UMNO/BN’s rule of over half a century. This is due to their ignorance on the vastly different urbanisation levels of the 2 countries:
Thailand’s urbanisation : 33% (2008)
Malaysia’s urbanisation: 70%(2008)
Thus the population distribution between urban and rural areas for the 2 neighbouring countries are almost mirror image of each other: Malaysia has only 30% of rural population whereas Thailand has slightly more than 30% urban population!
Implications: the method to stay popular politically by relying on adopting populist policies to buy rural voters has its limit in Malaysia whereas it still has a long way to go in Thailand.
Of course in Malaysia the ruling parties are abusing redelineation exercises to amplify the voting power of the rural population through mal-apportionment and also gerry-mandering. When the biggest urban constituencies are already 10 times more than the smallest rural ones in Malaysia the limit to further this tactics has probably been reached! Soon the Opposition may win over 50% of the popular votes and still excluded from power in the winners takes all system in Malaysia.
But yet time is not on the side of the ruling parties who intend to reach political immortality by blowing the bubble of rural voting power. At some stage the bubble will surely burst!
Thailand will go to the polls this sunday and the results, whichever way it will go, may not be of much reference to Malaysia as far as handling the rural-urban divide is concerned.