Survey: Most Malaysians back Najib

By The Star

Most Malaysians continue to back Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak despite a drop in his approval rating since May, according to the latest opinion poll released by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research.

The peninsular Malaysia-wide telephone survey of 1,005 randomly-selected voters, aged 21 and above, was carried out between Nov 30 and Dec 11.

From 72% in May, the latest poll over this period showed Najib’s approval rating declined slightly to 69%.

Within the percentage that gave their approval, 22% reported they were “very satisfied” and the remaining 47% “somewhat satisfied” with the performance of the prime minister.

Broken down into ethnic groups, the survey found 74% of Malays, 54% of Chinese and 85% of Indian respondents were satisfied with the prime minister’s performance, seen as a major boost for Najib as he mulls an early general election next year.

Overall, the survey found that the number of people dissatisfied with Najib’s performance increased to 24% from 21% in May.

The centre attributed the slightly reduced approval ratings to public reactions towards reductions in government subsidies for items such as fuel and sugar which took place during the survey period.

The price of RON95 and diesel went up five sen to RM1.90 per litre.

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) also increased by five sen to RM1.90 per kilogramme and sugar price rose 20sen to RM2.10 per kilogramme recently.

However, more than half of those polled felt the country was headed in the right direction. Fifty-four per cent of voters surveyed think the country was on the right track, compared to 52% in May.

The optimism was fuelled by the perception that the economy continued to perform reasonably well.

Fifty-three per cent of those polled felt economic conditions were favourable, an improvement from 47% in May.

However, voter optimism in the economic outlook declined 6% from May, with 47% expecting the economy to be better in a year’s time compared to 53% who felt positive in May.

The figure among Chinese expressing optimism over the economy decreased to 26% compared to 37% in May.

Public awareness of the Economic Transformation Plan unveiled by the Government was moderate, with 48% of voters reporting awareness of the initiative. Overall, 46% reported confidence in the ETP goals, of which 9% said they were “very confident” the ETP would “propel Malaysia into becoming a developed nation”.