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Malay Mail Online Survey: Sarawak got top marks for protecting religious freedom
04-April-2016, The Malay Mail Online

Sarawak voters’ primary worry over rising costs and economic hardship will give the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition an edge in
the coming state election, the Merdeka Center said. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Sarawak’s voters were overwhelmingly happy with the state government’s protection of religious freedom, a recent survey by independent pollster Merdeka Center showed.

A whopping 88 per cent of 815 respondents polled said they were happy with the Sarawak government’s protection of religious freedom, with this favourable sentiment shared by most of the Chinese, Muslim Bumiputera and non-Muslim Bumiputera respondents at 90 per cent, 91 per cent and 84 per cent.

Sarawak’s Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem had repeatedly made strong statements to assert the state’s protection of religious freedoms for its multiracial community, assuring Christians in March 2014 that he will never permit the introduction of any state laws to ban them from using the Arabic word for God, “Allah”.

Adenan had also said the Sarawak government will deny entry or deport those who attempt to incite racial and religious sentiments in the state, besides guaranteeing last April that his administration will protect the Sarawak’s people’s right to religious freedom.

In Merdeka Center’s January 2016 survey results released today, the majority of the respondents were as a whole satisfied with the Sarawak administration’s provision of basic amenities (66 per cent), provision of quality education in Sarawak (65 per cent) and protection of the environment (64 per cent).

Adenan’s administration was seen by respondents as performing well in providing for the poor’s welfare with 55 per cent expressing satisfaction, while 52 per cent were satisfied with its control of crime levels, management of the state’s economy and protection of the state’s autonomy stood at 52 per cent and 49 per cent respectively.

The voters polled were almost equally split in terms of satisfaction in rural infrastructure development with 48 per cent saying they were happy against 47 per cent, generation of economic growth with 47 per cent expressing favour against 46 per cent.

In four areas, those unhappy with the state government’s performance outweighed the proportion that felt satisfied.

Over half of the respondents were dissatisfied with the provision of reliable and quality public transport and the creation of job opportunities at 51 per cent and 53 per cent, while both areas of protection of native customary rights’ land and eradication of corruption in the public sector saw 46 per cent expressing dissatisfaction.

In an April 2015 survey by Merdeka Center of 606 Sarawakian voters, the overall top three issues which they felt needed the Sarawak government’s attention are fighting corruption (38 per cent), creating jobs (26 per cent) and improving public infrastructure in rural areas (25 per cent).

Merdeka Center said today that its self-funded survey was carried out on January 20 to January 26, 2016 through phone interviews of 815 voters reflecting the electoral profile of all 82 state seats in Sarawak.

It said the survey is eyed at measuring the voters’ perceptions of current developments in Sarawak ahead of the state’s elections, which must be held within 60 days of the state legislative assembly’s dissolution on April 11.

This year’s Sarawak election will be carried out with a budget of RM135 million and will see 1,141,294 registered voters being eligible to vote.

© 2007 Merdeka Center. All rights reserved
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