Survey: Non-Malay voters can be kingmakers in three states

Non-Malay voters are set to be the kingmaker in Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Penang, as well as the southern parts of Kedah, says Ilham Centre.

(MSN News) – The research centre, in a report issued yesterday, said the state elections would see split votes among Malay voters, thus allowing the non-Malays to have the final say on whether the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional unity pact or Perikatan Nasional would lead their state.

“But the situation would not be as intense for the one-on-one contests during these state elections as compared to the 15th General Election, which had more three-cornered fights,” it said.

The findings were from a survey conducted by Ilham Centre on the people’s acceptance of the unity government and Malaysia Madani policy focusing on the six state elections.

Held from July 11 to 27, the survey involved 2,416 respondents covering all ages, ethnicities, household groups, educational levels, occupations and different localities from Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan, and included in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with the youth, local leaders and women.

The survey also revealed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s popularity among the non-Malays was higher compared to the 76% of Malays who voiced dissatisfaction with the premier’s performance.

A high 88% and 81% of Chinese and Indian voters respectively were satisfied with Anwar’s performance.

It also found a polarising view of voters in Pakatan-led governments in Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Penang and Perikatan states, namely Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.

“The states with mixed voter demographics were more open in their evaluations related to the performance of the Prime Minister and the unity government.

“However, states with a high number of Malay voters, especially those from Perikatan-led states, gave a low approval rating,” it added.

The survey found that only 39% of Malays from Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Penang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan understood the Malaysia Madani policies compared to 61% of ethnic Chinese, 55% of ethnic Indians and 75% from other groups.

“With only eight months into governance, the acceptance percentage is good for the government but information on the policies should be channelled actively, especially to the rural areas,” Ilham centre said.

It also said Barisan or Umno needed to work harder to win back Malay support that was diminishing or even lost in GE15.

“The state polls are clearly a test of the survival of the Pakatan-Barisan unity government led by Anwar,” it said.

Political scientist Prof Wong Chin Huat of Sunway University said the survey seemed to be “very accurate in its sample size”.

Universiti Sains Malaysia senior lecturer Dr Azmil Mohd Tayeb said for Kelantan, the survey should have included out-of-state voters.

“It’s because the PAS government in Kelantan is highly dependent on such voters,” he said.

Datuk Dr Marzuki Mohamad, the former principal private secretary to former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, said the findings showed that the current Barisan-Pakatan pact lacked Malay legitimacy.

“The sample size seems to justify the survey findings.

“In Selangor, Anwar’s approval rating among Malays is just above 40%.

“This is low considering that Selangor is his coalition Pakatan’s stronghold,” said Marzuki.

PKR communications director Lee Chean Chung said the survey did not represent the majority of Malays as there were respondents, including in Terengganu and Kelantan, who claimed to be unsure instead of rejecting the possibility of voting for the unity pact.

Lee said the government would reflect on the findings and improve on the people’s confidence towards it.