BN Still The Choice For Sarawakians, Survey Shows – By Alan Ting

Bernama Online | KUALA LUMPUR, 13-July-2010 — The Sibu by-election held last May raised some doubts as to Barisan Nasional’s grip over Sarawak but recent poll conducted by an independent body has proved otherwise.

According to the survey by the Merdeka Center, the findings of which were released Tuesday, most Sarawakians still support the BN.

“A total of 64.1 percent of the respondents threw their support behind the BN, an increase of 1.1 percent over the popular votes received by the ruling party in the 2006 state election,” said Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) lecturer Faisal S. Hazis, who had conducted the survey titled “Between Continuity and Change: An Analysis of Voting Behavior in Sarawak 2010” for Merdeka Center.

Speaking at a media briefing here, Faisal said the survey conducted from January to April involved 518 respondents in Sarawak aimed at assessing their perception towards both the Barisan Nasional (BN) and opposition parties.

“In terms of perception towards BN, between 70 per cent to 80 per cent of those surveyed said they had positive perception of the BN’s policies and actions.

However, he said respondents pointed out several shortcomings in the BN, such as internal rivalry and money politics.

“A total of 65.9 percent wanted the BN to take affirmative action (to resolve the problems) while 74 percent of them believed that corruption was a major problem in the country,” he said.

Faisal said only 11.2 per cent of the respondents admitted that they were willing to vote for the opposition.

There were also negative impressions towards the opposition by respondents such as lack of unity, lack of ideas on economic development, corruption (11.4 per cent), weakness in administration (7.5 per cent), and weak leadership (4.8 per cent).

On factors influencing voting behavior in Sarawak, Faisal said 36.9 per cent of the respondents chose contesting parties as the main factor, particularly the ones that could bring about development to the state.

“The other factors were issues related to the voters while choice of candidates remained as the third most important factor,” he said.

Faisal also said it remained an uphill task for the opposition to take over the state as they needed to capture a minimum of 36 out of the 71 seats in the state.

“But there are only 12 marginal seats,” he added.

At present, the opposition only holds nine state seats in Sarawak, with DAP (6), PKR (1) and Independent (2).