(© Sanja Gjenero / sxc.hu)
PETALING JAYA, 12 Feb 2009: A new poll has found that the Perak Ruler’s decision not to call for snap elections to solve the political imbroglio in the state is unpopular with Perakians.
A total 62% of a 507-voter sample polled by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research felt that the role of the palace in this case “does not reflect the will of the people of Perak”.
The survey also found that 74% of respondents felt that the state assembly should be dissolved to pave the way for elections, according to a press statement released today by the Merdeka Centre.
The Perak crisis was precipitated when three Pakatan Rakyat state assemblypersons quit their respective parties to become independents, and threw their support behind the Barisan Nasional (BN).
Sultan Azlan Shah refused Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin’s request to dissolve the state legislative assembly, and instead agreed to BN forming the government. The move has been seen as an unpopular one, with people voicing out their anger at the Sultan’s decision on the internet.
The Merdeka Centre poll found that only 21% thought the royalty was “most rightful in deciding who should form government in Perak”. Over three-quarters of all respondents thought that who should form government was the reserve of “the people, through elections”.
The poll was carried out via telephone, from 6 to 8 Feb 2009. Respondents — all from Perak — comprised of 47% Malay Malaysians, 41% Chinese Malaysians, and 12% Indian Malaysians, in accordance with the 2008 electoral roll.
Thirty-three percent thought that fresh polls were the best way out of the Perak mess, as opposed to 28% saying that it was prudent to accept the new BN state government.
Most of those polled — 66% — were against state governments formed through defections of state assemblypersons.
Thirty-five percent of those queried supported by-elections in Behrang, Changkat Jering, and Jelapang constituencies, where the Pakatan Rakyat representatives quit their respective parties to become “BN-friendly” independents, leading to the fall of the elected state government.
A majority of Chinese Malaysians and Indian Malaysians polled thought the Perak crisis would increase support for the Pakatan Rakyat, and reduce support for the BN. Opinions among Malay Malaysians however differed, with more thinking that it would decrease support for the opposition coalition, and increase support for the ruling government, than otherwise.
The poll also showed that 47% of all respondents thought the crisis decreased people’s faith in Malaysian democracy.
But it is interesting to note, however, that many Malay Malaysian (48%) and Indian Malaysian (53%) respondents thought that events would increase the people’s faith in Malaysian democracy. Chinese Malaysians were, however, less optimistic, with only 11% feeling the same way.