Shocker! Harapan enters Tg Piai by-election with only 35pct popularity

(Malaysiakini) – Pakatan Harapan lawmakers were shocked to find out that the ruling coalition will contest the upcoming by-election in Tanjung Piai with its latest popularity plummeting to 35 percent as of August, according to sources.

This is the lowest popularity rate ever recorded since Harapan took over the government in May 2018.

A source told Malaysiakini that Harapan’s popularity statistic survey was conducted by independent pollster Merdeka Center at a two-day retreat in Subang, called “Closed-door Meeting with Harapan and Warisan MPs”.

The statistic showed Harapan had recorded 87 percent in popularity during the 14th general election last year, but began to see a significant drop particularly in the first half of 2019.

According to the source, Merdeka Center noted that Harapan’s popularity with Chinese and Indian voters had dropped to 41 percent as of August, while 30 percent Malay voters are still supporting the coalition.

“Generally, Harapan is now an underdog and scores a ‘fail’ mark.”

Several lawmakers contacted by Malaysiakini declined to reveal the statistic, citing confidentiality and gag order.

None of them, however, rebutted when asked about it, with one lawmaker saying “It is bad, I cannot tell”.

The statistic was presented via a slide which was sighted by Malaysiakini.

It was reported in May that a Kajidata Research public opinion poll showed that 40 percent of Malaysian voters still preferred Harapan.

In April, a Merdeka Center survey revealed that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s approval rating as prime minister was 46 percent, down from a high of 83 percent last year. His government’s approval rating was only 39 percent.

Satisfaction over the handling of the economy was at 40 percent, down from 56 percent last May.

Another source said the Communications and Multimedia Ministry also revealed a similar survey at the retreat which showed Harapan now losing support.

“Many reasons led to this, among others, the discrepancies and different voices between Harapan leaders. They criticise each other and some (ministers) interfere in the business of another ministry, as well as the lack of cooperation in the (structure or umbrella) of Harapan.

“There were negative (views or perceptions) in seven out of ten policies introduced (or implemented). Many reasons, not necessary that the policy itself is bad, but due to all factors, they become something negative,” said the source.

The opposition is now in control of the direction of debate and discourse in social media, making things worse for Harapan.

The source pointed out that Harapan, which once announced its effort to improve communication within the parties and convey better to the public its policies and efforts, has appeared to come to a standstill.

It is learnt that the retreat also discussed the status on the implementation of Harapan’s manifesto.

The source also said that Johor Harapan leaders spoke about the “bleak chance” in retaining the Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat.

“Maybe you can ask Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong about this,” said the source.

Sarawak Harapan leaders also mentioned the scenario of the upcoming state election, which can be held by 2021.

“There was a presentation on Malay votes, basically to explore how Harapan can increase its support of Malay votes,” said another source.