1st June 2009
Voter concerns on political stability subside, but worries about the
BANGI – A poll among Peninsula Malaysia voters found economic issues and crime at top of
voters’ minds as found in the opinion poll conducted by the Merdeka Center for Opinion
Research released today.
The Peninsular Malaysia Voter Opinion Poll was carried out by Merdeka Center for Opinion
Research between 6th
May 2009 as part of a continuing effort to track voters’
perception of current issues and national leadership.
This is the first public survey conducted by Merdeka Center for Opinion Research since
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak took office as the 6th
Prime Minister of Malaysia. The survey
was also conducted during the Perak state assembly sitting controversy and the outbreak of
the Influenza A(H1N1).
A total of 1067 registered voters in Peninsular Malaysia comprising 56% Malays, 34%
Chinese and 10% Indian were interviewed by telephone in the poll. Respondents were
selected on the basis of random stratified sampling along ethnicity, gender and state.
The poll found that worries over political infighting have subsided in the past two months as
voters’ concerns move on to other practical and pocketbook issues.
The survey reveals that a plurality of voters were concerned over economic related issues
comprising 31% who cited “unfavorable economic conditions in general” (15%), “price hike”
(7%), “lack of employment opportunities” (5%), “poverty and developmental issues” (2%)
and “other economic issues” (2%).
These concerns were followed by 12% comprising those who cited issues such as “social
problems among youth” (5%), “Mat Rempit” (3%), “moral decline” (2%) “drug abuse” (1%)
and “neglecting religious teachings” (1%). Worries for crime and public safety were the third
most quoted response with 11% citing concerns over “crime and public safety in general”(9%)
and “influx of migrant workers effecting jobs and safety” (2%).
Services Sector Liberalization
The poll asked questions on the liberalization measures on the services and financial sectors
announced by the Prime Minster in early May 2009. The survey found that public awareness
of the measures remains limited with only 36% cited awareness of the measures.
It is noticed that the liberalization policy received strong approval from the non-Bumiputera
community where approximately 70% Chinese and Indian voters, respectively, agreed to the
measures announced. Outward agreement of the measures was more subdued among Malay
voters with 37% expressing themselves positively. A majority of voters (56%) were confident
that the measures will be able to bring more investment and job opportunities to the country.
The poll found that 45% were satisfied with the performance of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The support for Najib came largely from the Malay and Indian communities with 53% and
64% cited satisfaction respectively. 39% of all respondents refused to respond to this
In response to a question on what is the most important issue the Prime Minister needs to
address, economic issues topped the chart with an aggregated 35% (comprising 23% citing
“addressing economic issues”, 7% on “give assistance to poor and rural areas” and another
5% quoted “reduce prices”) followed by 7% who cited “fair treatment for all races”.
About Merdeka Center for Opinion Research
Merdeka Center for Opinion Research was formally established in 2001 as an independent
organization focused on public opinion research and socio-economic analysis. Its members
comprise social scientists and professionals with qualifications in economics,
communications, marketing and law. Merdeka’s mission is to act as a bridge between
ordinary Malaysians and other stakeholders with leading members of the nation – by
collecting public opinion studies and expressing them through survey results, analysis and
position papers. For details, visit http://www.merdeka.org
Director – Programs
Mobile: 012 379 1940
|Only 45% of voters satisfied with Najib, survey says|
|S Pathmawathy | Jun 1, 09 7:02pm Malaysiakini.com|
|Despite the global financial crisis and a political stalemate in Perak under his belt, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was given a performance score card of a 45-percent satisfaction rate by voters in Peninsular Malaysia.
In an opinion poll conducted by opinion research firm Merdeka Centre from May 6-15 on 1,067 registered voters, it specifically asked the voters’ views on Najib’s performance in the areas of politics, economy and social issues after he took office as the sixth prime minister on April 3.
Surprisingly, the Indian community gave the most support with a 64-percent satisfaction rate on Najib after he took over from former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The Malay voters followed suit with 53 percent saying they are satisfied with Najib.
On the flip side, the Chinese community were largely non-responsive, as 53 percent refused to respond to the question, with only 24 percent expressing satisfaction to Najib’s performance.
It’s not about politics
Events relating to the political turmoil in Perak, arrests made under the Sedition Act and the release of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders as well as the outbreak of the influenza A(H1N1) virus were amongst matters taken into consideration in the poll.
In analysing the survey, the Merdeka Centre said voters’ concerns were not so much on matters relating to politics but rather on the management of the economy and their financial status.
When quizzed on the important issues that need to be addressed, 31 percent of those polled said that the unfavourable economic conditions, price hikes and lack of employment were among the problems that needed the most attention.
Similarly, 35 percent of those polled said the prime minister needs to focus on economic issues.
In the poll overview, more voters now – 39 percent compared to 24 percent in March – felt confident that the economy was headed in the right direction. Merdeka Center conducted a similar survey in March.
Likewise, the poll also stated that 47 percent of voters said that the economy will improve in the coming year.
Meanwhile, issues such as social ills and the rate of crime also topped the survey.
About 12 percent of voters said that social problems among the youth, ‘Mat Rempit’ menace (illegal motorcycle racing), moral decline, drug abuse and neglect of religious teaching were problems that needed attention.
Only 9 percent of voters were worried over political problems such as the change of governments in Perak, undemocratic practices such as the Internal Security Act (ISA) and political power struggles.
Economy liberalisation a positive impact
The survey also investigated the position of voters on the liberalisation measures undertaken by the government in April.
Najib had announced that the government would be lifting the 30 percent Bumiputra equity requirement for 27 sub-sectors in the services industry including the financial sectors as part of Malaysia’s commitments to international free trade agreements.
The polls found that a mere 36 percent of those polled were aware of the announcement.
Almost 77 percent of the Malays were unaware of the liberalisation. However, the Chinese and the Indian voters said they were 55 percent and 51 percent respectively familiar with such moves.
In relation, the liberalisation policy received the highest number of understanding from the Chinese and Indian voters, but only 37 percent of the Malay voters expressed positively towards the policy.
Of those polled, 56 percent said the liberalisation of the service sectors would bring in more investment and job opportunities.
Meanwhile, 55 percent revealed that the freeing up of the financial sector by allowing higher foreign ownership equity will also boost inflow of funds and create more jobs.