Voters back fresh Perak polls in new survey
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — Despite giving Datuk Seri Najib Razak a high approval rating as the country’s new prime minister, Malaysians appeared to view the continuing political tussle in Perak as a major black mark for the new administration.
The results from a survey by the independent Merdeka Center shows that 44 per cent of Malaysians polled backed the call for fresh elections as the way to resolve the crisis.
Those who feel the best resolution is to “persuade the people to accept the Barisan Nasional (BN) state government” accounted for just 18 per cent of those polled.
Another 18 per cent want fresh elections in the three seats belonging to the three Pakatan Rakyat (PR) defectors. The three defections had helped tip the balance in favour of BN and sparked an unprecedented political and constitutional crisis.
A striking result of the poll showed that a majority of Malay voters also backed fresh elections.
A total of 38 per cent of Malays agreed that the state assembly should be dissolved, with 15 per cent calling for polls in the three affected seats. Some 30 per cent of Malays backed the BN government.
Among the Chinese polled, 54 per cent wanted fresh elections, 20 per cent wanted polls in the three seats while just 8 per cent backed the BN government.
For the Indian community, 46 per cent wanted fresh elections, 24 per cent called for polls in the three seats, and only 15 per cent supported the BN government.
Ousted Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin from the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) said the poll vindicated his stand of fighting for the state assembly to be dissolved.
“They should call for fresh elections in Perak. Najib is behind the power grab and drama there and if he wants to save BN, he should dissolve the state assembly and I would believe that he would be encouraged to dissolve it to ride on the momentum of his popular support,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
Some 1,060 selected registered voters were surveyed between June 19 and July 1.
They were asked a range of questions to gauge the PM’s performance, sentiment on the country and economy and measures to liberalise the economy.
The margin of error is about +/- 3 per cent. The survey was jointly commissioned by Merdeka Center and a research house. Najib’s approval rating was 65 per cent, a spike from the tepid 46 per cent in mid-May and 42 per cent just before he became the country’s sixth leader.
Twenty-two per cent are dissatisfied with his performance while 13 per cent were undecided.
“I would think that Najib should capitalise on the encouraging survey which shows that he is popular because of his policies and call for a state election in Perak.
[Nizar said the poll vindicated his stand of fighting for the Perak state assembly to be dissolved. — File pic]
Nizar said the poll vindicated his stand of fighting for the Perak state assembly to be dissolved. — File pic
“Najib is on the rising wave and he can ride it further on a sustained basis if responds to the aspiration of the people,” said Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam from the Centre for Public Policy Studies.
The survey appeared to show that there is broad appeal for Najib’s economic reforms.
But BN’s power-grab in Perak, which happened in February before Najib took office, is seen as an affair which has left a bad taste in the mouth for Malaysians.
The power grab, masterminded by Najib, has resulted in continuing political unstability with countless court battles and even two farcical state assembly sittings.
Nizar is still challenging the legitimacy of Datuk Dr Zambry Kadir’s appointment as mentri besar.
Tomorrow, the Federal Court in Putrajaya will hear Nizar’s final appeal.