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Najib’s ratings breach 70pc mark
08-June-2010, The Malaysian Insider
By Lee Wei Lian

KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s approval ratings rose slightly in the latest Merdeka Center survey released today, rising from 69 per cent in April to 72 per cent in May bolstered by a sense that the nation was headed in the right direction.

The Merdeka Center had polled 1,028 randomly selected voters in Peninsular Malaysia by telephone between May 6 and 16, just ahead of the Sibu by-election which the prime minister’s Barisan Nasional (BN) lost.

Merdeka Center chief Ibrahim Suffian said that there is a sense that the public appreciates his efforts but they are also waiting to see if his initiatives, such as the government transformation programme, will be implemented successfully.

“The public is still of two minds but they do acknowledge that he’s trying,” Ibrahim told The Malaysian Insider.

While Najib did achieve a new high watermark in terms of his personal approval ratings, he cannot take for granted that the favourable numbers will mean election victories.

“Not all favourable responses translate to votes,” said Ibrahim.

Najib’s predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s approval ratings were about 60 per cent in January 2008, just two months before the BN’s poor showing at the 2008 general election.

Najib’s approval ratings, however, are on the uptrend in contrast to Abdullah’s, whose popularity plummeted from a high of 91 per cent when he took power.

Najib in contrast started as prime minister in April last year with a dismal 44 per cent rating but had jumped to 69 per cent one year later.

He enjoyed the highest approval among Indians, of whom 80 per cent expressed satisfaction, followed by Malays at 77 per cent and Chinese at 58 per cent.

Confidence levels in the Najib administration’s initiatives, however, were limited, with only 50 per cent confident that the Government Transformation Programme, 1 Malaysia and the New Economic Model will be able to achieve their goals.

The Merdeka Center said that indications are that the public was becoming increasingly cynical, with 58 per cent agreeing with the view that “the federal government was good in planning but weak in implementation”.

A majority of respondents were also dissatisfied with efforts to combat corruption (61 per cent) and combating crime (57 per cent).

More than half (53 per cent) said that fighting corruption was the most important issue the government should address.

Slightly more than 50 per cent felt the country was headed in the right direction compared with 34 per cent who said it was heading the wrong way and 14 per cent who were uncertain.

The number of respondents satisfied with their personal income, meanwhile, dropped from 52 to 46 per cent while 47 per cent felt that economic conditions were favourable compared with 52 per cent in April.


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