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Poll: Malaysians want say in Umno leadership

PETALING JAYA, 12 March 2009: A survey has confirmed what most Malaysians can only talk about — that citizens of all races want a say in deciding Umno’s top leadership because the party’s leaders become the country’s leaders.

An opinion poll by Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research shows that 79% of those surveyed want Umno delegates to take the views of Malaysians into consideration when voting for the Umno leadership.

Only 16% of those polled from 4 to 16 Feb felt that the Umno elections are an internal affair.

The poll was conducted among 1,031 registered voters in Peninsular Malaysia. Of this, 57% were Malay Malaysians, 31% Chinese Malaysians and 12% Indian Malaysians.

Should the people have a say in Umno’s elections?
79%  Yes, Umno should consider the people’s views
16%  No, party elections are an internal matter

Popular leaders

The poll also ranked the popularity of candidates running for top party positions.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was favoured by 52% of all those polled for the deputy president’s post. His rivals Datuk Seri Ali Rustam and Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib came in at 11% and 7% respectively.

Among the Malay Malaysian respondents, Muhyiddin received 61% of support for the party’s number two post, while Ali received 14% and Muhammad 8%.

For the vice-president’s post, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein was the most popular at 17%, followed by Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at 13% and Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar at 8%.

Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir was the most popular pick for the Umno Youth chief post at 58%, while support for Khairy Jamaluddin was 15%, and Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo’s was 13%.

In the Wanita race, 60% preferred Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil as the movement’s chief compared with incumbent Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz (27%).

Malay respondents want the Umno deputy president to be:
52%  Muhyiddin Yassin   
11%  Ali Rustam
7%  Muhammad Muhd Taib

Expectations of Umno

The survey also posed questions on what Malaysians expected of Umno, and how they viewed the party.

In total, 19% wanted Umno to treat all races fairly. Other expectations of the party were “continue to lead the country” (11%), “improve the system of governance” (10%), and “care for the people’s welfare” (8%).

Among Malay Malaysian respondents, who comprised 592 of those polled, 19% wanted Umno to continue leading the nation and 15% wanted the country’s administration to be further improved.

Corruption most serious issue

On issues affecting Umno, 61% of all those surveyed said corruption was the party’s most serious problem.

Next was the “failure to understand the condition of the people” (13%), race-based politics (6%), and weak leadership (6%).

Those surveyed were also asked to state the kind of leadership criteria they thought Umno leaders should possess.

Top was “being just to the rakyat” at 21%, followed by being “close to the people” (11%), “honesty” (9%), “religiously educated” (8%) and “responsible and free from corruption” (5%).

Umno leaders should be:
11%  close to the people
9%  honest
8%  religious
5%  responsible and incorrupt

“This survey indicates the Malaysian public’s keen interest in the Umno elections. They also have strong views about the problems affecting the party.

“They also harbour high hopes of those elected,” said Merdeka Centre director Ibrahim Suffian in a press statement to release the poll findings today.

Merdeka Centre conducted the survey in collaboration with the International Islamic University ahead of the Umno general assembly and elections, which will be held from 24 to 28 March.

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