Opinion polls — Lim Sue Goan

Ibrahim Suffian, Merdeka Center

(The Malaysian Insider) – Opinion polls have not been standardised in Malaysia and thus, the interpretation of their results depend on your stand and point of view.

The approval rating of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak rose to 72 per cent in May 2010 and Barisan Nasional leaders interpreted it as the people’s support to the Government Transformation Plan (GTP) and the New Economic Model (NEM), while the Pakatan Rakyat said that the poll was not credible.

However, a recent Merdeka Center poll reported that the prime minister’s approval rating has dipped to 59 per cent in August. This time, BN leaders said that it did not reflect the fact while the Pakatan Rakyat said that the people have shifted to support the alternative coalition.

Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim also said that an Information Department survey of 50,000 respondents showed that most people accepted Najib’s leadership and the BN government.

When the prime minister received 72 per cent of approval rating, some scholars predicted that the general election would be held in the end of last year. Would today’s situation delay the general election to next year?

BN questioned the sampling of the Merdeka Center that interviewed only 1,027 voters. In my opinion, I think the scope of investigation was not comprehensive enough. For example, they should ask about the people’s support for the Pakatan Rakyat and its leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to study the inadequacies of the ruling and alternative coalitions over the past three years.

The August poll showed that two issues had affected the prime minister’s approval rating, namely the Bersih 2.0 rally and the rising cost of living.

The improper handling of the July 9 rally has been expected to cause a rebound and now, they could only take remedial actions, particularly to accelerate the reform of the electoral system to dilute the impact.

As for the rising cost of living, even though it is a global issue, the government can still implement some measures to alleviate the people’s burden. The 2012 Budget is the key and in addition to proposing positive strategies, they must also ensure a strict and successful execution.

In fact, BN has been devoted to improving the economy over the past three years. Unfortunately, its stand is not firm enough. For example, the NEM requires a performance-based system to enhance competitiveness. But they have actually got back to the old quota system recently. It is one of the factors affecting the confidence of voters.