Analysts see 1MDB stigma as least of PM’s worries for GE15
The 1MDB scandal has lost much of its power to influence voters since the last general election, according to two analysts.
(FMT) – National Council of Professors fellow Jeniri Amir said Barisan Nasional’s landslide victories in the Melaka and Johor state elections last year showed that the scandal, involving former prime minister Najib Razak among others, was becoming irrelevant.
Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said national interest in the 1MDB case had been progressively waning since the court trials started.
Both said the issue of living costs would have a greater influence on voters in the coming general election.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a recent media interview he was trying to overcome the 1MDB stigma in getting support to secure his premiership.
Jeniri told FMT he believed the public’s current main concern was the rising cost of living and Ismail would have to effectively address the issue of inflation if he was hoping to lead his coalition to another term in office.
“The people are suffering from the high cost of living and inflation,” he said. “A lot of people’s incomes have dropped drastically. This is what will be influencing voters’ choice the most.”
He said it was looking as if 60% of Malaysians were now in the low-income group.
Awang Azman said public anger over the 1MDB scandal was now probably at half the strength it was during the 14th general election in 2018.
“Whether Ismail can bolster the economy and tackle the rising costs of living and inflation – that is more important now,” he said. “If he fails to do so, his position as prime minister will surely be greatly affected.”
He said he believed Ismail would gain recognition from fence-sitters and even opposition supporters if he succeeded in putting the economy on a path to recovery.