Does Anwar really have a 68% approval rating? | 12-Feb-2023 : By his own actions and decisions, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim actually has done more to cause Malaysians to disapprove of him.

A recent survey by the Merdeka Center revealed that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s rule has the approval of 68% of Malaysians. It raises the question why.

We know that Anwar did not enjoy 68% approval in November. If he did, Pakatan Harapan (PH) would have won much more than the 82 seats that it did.

Roughly speaking, the result suggests that PH, ipso facto, Anwar, probably just had around 36% of the population who truly approve of him. How did 36% in November almost double to 68% by February?

The only thing that I can think of is the performance of the ringgit. It has appreciated significantly since Anwar took over, almost breaching the RM4.20 mark to the dollar not too long ago.

That is certainly a massive improvement in a short time.

But other than that, there really isn’t much to speak about Anwar’s rule.

Even the ringgit’s good performance cannot be directly attributed to Anwar’s performance. It has to do more with the belief of the international finance community that Anwar’s reign will cause an economic upswing in the near future.

It has more to do with their belief rather than with Anwar’s actions or decisions.

By his own actions and decisions, Anwar actually has done more to cause Malaysians to disapprove of him.

The Malay electorate, already jittery over the perception that Pakatan Harapan (PH) will cause their interest and prospects to suffer, cannot possibly be more approving of Anwar, when he is now perceived to be going after Perikatan Nasional (PN) leaders.

Whether the PN leaders are truly corrupt is irrelevant here. What is relevant here is that Anwar’s action here will be perceived as a means of striking at his political opponents for political interest.

Anwar seems intent upon striking the very leaders that the Malay electorate are pinning their hopes on to keep the PH government in check.

There are no grounds to believe that the Malay electorate who voted for PN has any grounds to switch their loyalty to Anwar. But there are also grounds to believe that many Anwar supporters are now getting quite vehement about him.

As it turns out, Anwar is not turning out to be the saviour that they had hoped for.

His supporters might have tolerated his decision to appoint Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as deputy prime minister to be a necessary evil, but Anwar’s subsequent decisions, actions and justifications raised some serious questions about what he actually stands for.

The appointment of Nazri Aziz as ambassador to the US raised many questions. Anwar’s strange reasoning about appointing his own daughter, Nurul Izzah, as his special adviser on economics and finance, also cast a shadow in the minds of his supporters.

His decision to seek a confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat while threatening to fire any MP that voted against him also cast serious doubts.

His government’s decision about the Bersatu Four in Sabah seems to rely on a very complicated interpretation of the letter of the law which has significantly weakened the spirit that inspired the creation of the anti-hopping law in the first place.

At the end of the day, people are going to need something from our government before we can reciprocate with our support. If we get nothing but dismissals and insults, what reason do we have to support this or any government?

I have no choice but to conclude that the Merdeka Center survey result, showing a very significant upswing of approval in the last three months, cannot be something that is real.

According to Hanlon’s Razor, we “should not attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence.”

So I shall just attribute it to overzealousness by the Merdeka Center to promote Anwar. Somebody in Merdeka Center might be overfond of Anwar, and being overfond of anything does make us err, does it not?


Nehru Sathiamoorthy is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

High approval for Malaysia’s PM Anwar, but his government lags behind: Survey

Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim was seen favourably by two-thirds of the respondents polled, said pollster Merdeka Center. PHOTO: AFP | 11-Feb-2023 : KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim scored a 68 per cent approval rating in the first poll conducted since he took office in late November, but his government was endorsed by only around half of the respondents.

Pollster Merdeka Center said on Friday that Datuk Seri Anwar was seen favourably by two-thirds of Malaysians polled, with over 80 per cent accepting his appointment as Prime Minister following a general election that resulted in a hung Parliament.

But his government – consisting of his Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, former rival Barisan Nasional and several other smaller outfits – only had a 54 per cent approval rating, the pollster said.

The survey, carried out between December 2022 and January, showed that Malaysians are keen to put the country’s political instability behind them and to let the current administration “prove themselves”, Merdeka Center said in a statement.

The approval ratings for Mr Anwar and his government lag behind those of the previous PH administration, which saw high ratings when it came into power for the first time in 2018.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had an approval rating of 71 per cent close to 100 days after taking office in May 2018, while his government received a 67 per cent rating.

Analysts have said the poll results show that Mr Anwar’s government is not enjoying a “honeymoon period”, which new governments typically get after elections.

“There was never a honeymoon period for this government as it was precarious from day one,” said Dr Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute for International Affairs.

Dr Oh, however, said that there is very little Mr Anwar and his government can do to improve their ratings, except to become more Malay- and Muslim-centric to battle the opposition Perikatan Nasional’s wave of support among the Malays in the last general election.

“This is nigh impossible and also contrary to its reformist ideology,” he said, referring to the progressive and reformist ideals of Mr Anwar and PH.

Both Mr Anwar and his government had lower support among Malays compared with non-Malays. Despite receiving a rating beyond 70 per cent from other races, Mr Anwar had a 60 per cent score among Malays, while his government only had 48 per cent.

Mr Anwar’s approval rating is comparable to those of his predecessors, Tun Dr Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, but is far higher than that of his immediate predecessor, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Dr Mahathir saw a rating of between 70 per cent and 80 per cent in the early months of his administration before his popularity started to dwindle, ultimately leading to PH administration collapsing in 2020 due to defections.

Mr Muhyiddin enjoyed a rating of above 70 per cent in the months after taking office in March 2020, largely due to his initial management of the Covid-19 pandemic, while his government had a 63 per cent score, higher than that of Mr Anwar’s government.

Datuk Seri Ismail’s highest rating was only 52 per cent, registered in the month after he took office in August 2021. His government only had a 45 per cent approval rating as its best performance, registered when he became prime minister.

Mr Anwar took office on Nov 24, five days after a closely fought general election that produced no clear winner.

He leads what is on paper the strongest Malaysian government in over a decade, having control of 148 out of 222 seats in Parliament, but his government is made up of multiple ex-rivals offering conditional support.

Malaysia has had four prime ministers in as many years, two of them coming into power via defections and political horse-trading rather than through elections. None of the three premiers before Mr Anwar managed to complete two years in office.

PM’s approval rating at 68%, Merdeka Center survey finds

Slightly more than half of the respondents were happy with the performance of the unity government led by Anwar Ibrahim while 25% expressed dissatisfaction. (Bernama pic) | 10-Feb-2023 : PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had an approval rating of 68% two months after the 15th general election (GE15), a survey has found.

The survey by Merdeka Center, held from Dec 26 to Jan 15, involved 1,209 voters across all ethnic groups.

It found that 54% of the respondents were satisfied with the performance of the unity government while 25% expressed dissatisfaction.

Nearly a quarter of them refrained from giving their views, which the research centre said was indicative of cautiousness after four years of political instability in the country.

It said although the sense of cautiousness prevailed, there were still signs of optimism, with 48% of the respondents saying the country was moving in the right direction compared with 20% last October.

Merdeka Center said 43% of the respondents expressed optimism about the national economy in the coming year, and 38% were optimistic about their personal financial prospects.

“The ‘wait-and-see’ attitude is likely underpinned by strong voter concerns about economic growth and cost of living, which were mentioned by nearly 20% and 19%, respectively, as issues the new government should focus on,” it said.

The survey also found that 79% of the respondents welcomed the results of GE15, with 77% believing the unity government can bring about stability and inclusiveness in the country’s politics.

“The survey results show a Malaysian electorate that is keen to put the instability that had mired the country’s politics in the past, and move on to provide room for the new leadership to prove themselves.

“While many accept the unity government, the public is also reserving their assessment of the new government,” it said.

Merdeka Center said how well the government resolves economic problems and rising costs of living will determine public satisfaction towards it.

It said public reception of the reworked federal budget, set to be tabled in Parliament on Feb 24, will be an important factor in driving public response towards the new administration.

Unity govt records 54 pct approval rating, but miles below popularity of PH in 2018, PN in 2020

The survey by Merdeka Center also showed that 63 per cent of voters have ‘somewhat accepted’ the results of GE15, while 16 per cent said that ‘strongly accepted’ them. – Malay Mail photo | 10-Feb-2023: KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 10): A survey by independent pollster Merdeka Center found that 54 per cent of voters it surveyed were satisfied with the unity government of Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN), compared to 25 per cent who felt otherwise.

The survey published today also showed that in comparison, just 31 per cent of respondents had approved of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government prior to the 15th general election.

It also showed that 63 per cent of voters have ‘somewhat accepted’ the results of GE15, while 16 per cent said that ‘strongly accepted’ them.

Meanwhile, 15 per cent of voters surveyed said that they were ‘somewhat dissatisfied’ while 4 per cent were ‘very dissatisfied’ with the electoral outcome.

Also 13 per cent of voters surveyed choose to answer ‘don’t know’ or refused to comment.

The ethnicity with the highest per cent of acceptance of the GE15 results is the Indian community with 91 per cent stating they were satisfied followed by Chinese with 73 per cent satisfied and Malays who were 60 per cent satisfied.

Non-Muslim Bumiputera voters made up the largest proportion of those who accepted the GE15 outcome, at 83 per cent, while 67 per cent Muslim Bumiputera were satisfied with the result.

As for the top five issues that the new government should focus on, job creation ranked highest on the list, with 32.3 per cent of respondents selecting it as their first choice.

This was followed by the wage gap at 18.8 per cent, bringing back FDI at 11.5 per cent, more anti-corruption efforts at 9.8 and education reforms at 8.6 per cent.

Merdeka Center surveyed 1,209 respondents aged 18 and above via telephone from all states and constituencies, proportional to the population in each parliamentary constituency. – Malay Mail

More Malaysians now feel country heading the right way after Anwar’s govt replaces Perikatan, says poll

A survey by independent pollster Merdeka Center published today showed that 48 per cent of its respondents now felt positively about the country’s direction, compared to mere 20 per cent just before the 15th general election. — Picture by Firdaus Latif | 10-Feb-2023: KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 — For the first time since October 2022, more Malaysians feel that the country is moving in the right direction compared to those who felt otherwise.

A survey by independent pollster Merdeka Center published today showed that 48 per cent of its respondents now felt positively about the country’s direction, compared to mere 20 per cent just before the 15th general election.

However, the proportion of those who felt the country is moving in the right direction was far below the 64 per cent following Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) win in 2018, and even the 58 per cent following the Sheraton Move.

Merdeka Center