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Support for Pak Lah, Najib low: poll

PETALING JAYA, 2 Feb 2009: Overall support for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s and Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s leadership is below 50% with Chinese and Indian Malaysians being the most dissatisfied, an independent poll has found.

Approval ratings for the country’s top two leaders were at 46% for outgoing prime minister Abdullah, and 41% for Najib who will take over in March, the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research said.

Responses according to ethnicity showed that 54% of Malay Malaysians said they were satisfied with Abdullah’s performance as premier, while 54% of Chinese Malaysians and 53% of Indian Malaysians were dissatisfied.

On whether Najib would make a good prime minister, 57% of Malay Malaysians said yes, while 43% of Chinese Malaysians and 56% of Indian Malaysians disagreed.

The survey was conducted by telephone among 1,018 registered voters aged 21 and above from 26 Dec 2008 and 2 Jan 2009. The results were released to the media today.

The most important issues in voters’ minds were economy-related, with 22% worried about unfavourable economic conditions, 17% the rising cost of living, and 4% concerned about unemployment.

On sociopolitical issues, there was a 9% tie between racial inequality and corruption, while 6% thought worsening ethnic relations were at a critical stage.

Those surveyed were also wary of new initiatives such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) passed in parliament late last year. Confidence in both institutions to fight corruption and return independence to the judiciary tied at 43%.

(Merdeka Centre noted that the survey was conducted prior to recent investigations by MACC into Umno money politics.)

Respondents were also asked their perception of the MCA following its party elections in Oct 2008.

Fifty-eight percent of Malays queried said they felt MCA was treated fairly, while 66% of Chinese surveyed said no.

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