Malaysia Chronicle | 26-Feb-2013 – Prime Minister Najib Razak’s popularity plunged another 2 percentage points to 61%, confirming the growing views that his political strategy has been heavily flawed, ceding the upper-hand to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and his Pakatan Rakyat coalition as the country’s general election nears.
The 59-year-old Najib is now the least popular PM to lead the Umno-BN coalition into national polls, and this may yield Malaysia’s first-ever regime change if the Opposition is able to seize the day and win the federal government.
Najib is expected to dissolve Parliament within the next few weeks to pave the way for the 13th general election.
More damaging for Najib, the survey results are bound to increase the discontent and infighting within his Umno party and further weaken his ability to suppress rivals including Deputy prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and former premier Mahathir Mohamad.
Sharp drop in Malay satisfaction
According to the Merdeka Center, “several weeks away from the general election, a survey concluded among voters in Peninsular Malaysia in early February 2013 found that the Prime Minister’s approval rating had slipped further to 61% from 63% at the end of December 2012.
The survey found that while satisfaction among Chinese and Indian voters remained at 34% and 75% respectively, the sentiment among Malay voters had declined 4% from 77% to 73%.
The survey also detected movements in voter sentiments towards the government and the ruling Barisan Nasional party whereby 48% said they were “happy with the government” while 45% reported they were “happy with Barisan Nasional”. The survey also found declines from among Malay respondents towards the government and Barisan Nasional.”
Deepak , Musa allegations make an impact
The PM’s overall approval rating had only managed to improve 1 percentage point to 65% last November after he announced a populist and election goodies-filled Budget 2013, compared with 64% last May.
The January 23 to February 6 survey, which was funded internally by the Merdeka Center, aimed to gauge voters’ perceptions of issues in the run up to the 13th general election due soon. The Center says the results have a margin error of 3%.
The research house said the survey took place after the January 12 People’s Uprising rally backed by Anwar and PR leaders in Kuala Lumpur and amid the ongoing media coverage of the Sabah citizenship-for-votes royal inquiry.
Merdeka Center also noted that other issues forming the talking point to its survey included statements made by controversial businessman Deepak Jaikishan and former Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan against Najib, the government as well as the dispute over the use of the word “Allah”.