Why is there so little support for Anwar and Mahathir?

Sebastian Loh, Malaysia Impact

If you live in the heart of urban Malaysia, you may get the perception that Najib Razak is less popular than getting a colonoscopy. Relentlessly egged on by the opposition media, many city dwellers aren’t shy about their disdain for our 6th prime minister. But consider that they may be living in a bubble – an alternate universe of their own making.

Najib is still – by far – the voting public’s top choice for prime minister. This was the inconvenient truth unearthed through a survey done by PKR-linked outfit Invoke. Rafizi Ramli, who heads the organisation, announced the survey results himself. So, Pakatan zealots shouldn’t bother with their usual accusations of pro-Najib bias.

31 percent of survey respondents picked Najib for PM. Anwar Ibrahim, Pakatan’s great ‘uniter’ and its presumptive PM candidate for nearly a decade, only managed a pathetic 8 percent. Have all of Anwar’s rousing ceramahs and ubiquitous posters been for naught?

For all the paens sung about Anwar by Pakatan leaders and the activist intelligentsia, he likely never commanded the confidence of very many Malaysians – even opposition supporters. He was always just a convenient and empty vessel for anti-government hatred. And what support he had during his glory days has now evaporated in the wake of his hemming and hawing over issues like hudud. The titular leader of the opposition perpetually refused to lead, resulting in the collapse of Pakatan Rakyat.

On the other hand, the current de facto leader of the opposition – Mahathir – fully convinced of his own genius, has tried to lead a little too much. Voters aren’t biting. Our former dictator only managed to snag the backing of 5.7 percent of survey respondents. This miserable figure is notably lower than even support for Hadi Awang (6.1 percent), the PAS president widely vilified by Pakatan supporters as a traitor to the cause.