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Poll on Putrajaya’s handling of MH370 reflects public perception, says Merdeka Center
22-Apr-2014, The Malaysian Insider
By Eileen Ng
A recent survey which showed that only 26% of 1,029 respondents believed that Putrajaya had been truthful about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 saga is an indication of the public's perception on the way the government is handling the tragedy, says pollster Merdeka Center.
Responding to acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein's dismissal of the poll's results, Merdeka Center director Ibrahim Suffian said while Putrajaya might be doing its best to handle the tragedy, the numerous conspiracy theories as well as the slow release of information from the authorities had contributed to the negative perception.
"This is a media-driven issue and there is no way the public will know anything beyond what's reported by the media and in social media.
"The results of the survey are reflective of what's on the public's minds. It might not be reflective of the truth, perhaps, but it is reflective of their perception, driven by the sources of their information," said Ibrahim.
The survey found that 26% of respondents believed that the government was being truthful, while 54% said the government had been hiding the truth about flight MH370.
Out of the 1,029 respondents polled, 54% said Putrajaya was not transparent in releasing information about the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft which vanished from the radar en route to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people on board.
The plane was inexplicably diverted and is now believed to have crashed in the remote Indian Ocean. A multination search and rescue effort is under way and so far, no trace of the wreckage has been found.
In dismissing the survey results as purely speculative and irresponsible, Hishammuddin had said that the opinion poll was not true and did not represent the views of the majority of Malaysians, adding that the people had wanted the government to continue “and we have done so with friends from all over the world”.
“There is a small group of people who may be cynical about how we are going to move forward, but the truth will always prevail. We have nothing to hide,” he was quoted as saying at a press conference on Saturday.
Ibrahim said the belief that the government was hiding something with regards to the tragedy is higher among those aged 40 and below, as these people were the ones who are constantly connected to the Internet.
"There are a lot of conspiracy theories and speculations on the Internet on the missing plane and these are widely shared, so it does influence public perception."
In explaining the methodology of the survey, Ibrahim said it was conducted via telephone among random samples structured along age, ethnicity and gender.
"The poll was conducted the same way like we conduct our previous polls, where the respondents reflect the typical cross section of the public in Peninsular Malaysia. It also represented the urban and rural distribution.” – April 22, 2014.