Report: BN’s pre-GE approval dips to level lower than that seen before GE14 defeat, survey findings show

(MMO) – Approval ratings for the Barisan Nasional-led federal government prior to Parliament’s dissolution last month stood at 38 per cent, lower than when the coalition headed into the 14th general election in 2018, according to the latest surveys from the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research.

In a report yesterday, The Straits Times noted that the independent pollster found that its survey of Malaysians in September who approved of the Umno-led BN was lower than the 39 per cent recorded in April 2018, days before the coalition was ousted in GE14 after nearly six decades in power.

The report stated that current satisfaction with the government is much lower than the 50 per cent seen in September 2021, weeks after Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob first became prime minister, after both the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalitions failed to garner the necessary parliamentary majority to form the government.

It also found that just 51 per cent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the federal government in September, compared with 47 per cent just before Datuk Seri Najib Razak was deposed as prime minister in GE14 in May 2018.

According to The Straits Times, the survey results, which were reportedly presented to various financial institutions recently, stated “sentiments which hit lows in July have eased as inflation and cost of living increases were mitigated by government subsidies”.

The Singapore newspaper also reported Merdeka Center’s popularity ratings for five top politicians who are seen as the main prime ministerial candidates this round.

According to the survey, 46 per cent were satisfied with Ismail Sabri, though this is lower than the 52 per cent when he first came into power a year ago.

Even so, the Umno vice-president’s popularity far outstripped that of the party president Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi — currently on trial for a slew of graft charges — who garnered a mere 13 per cent satisfaction rating.

Conversely, 67 per cent of the respondents were dissatisfied with Zahid, compared with 46 per cent for Ismail Sabri.

By comparison, a third of those polled were satisfied with PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, while PN chief Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was the most popular with 51 per cent approval.

The report also noted that Merdeka Center had added a proviso in its presentations.

“Despite apparent low ratings, Zahid and his possible PM candidates (from Umno) have the support of a loyal base. However, this could turn off undecided voters and turn them to alternatives,” Merdeka Center was quoted saying of its findings.