Malaysians want electoral roll cleaned up: poll

MSN Philippines News | 25-May-2012 – An overwhelming majority of Malaysians support cleaning up the country’s electoral register, one of the key demands of a movement for free and fair elections, an opinion poll said Friday.

A rally by tens of thousands of people on April 28 piled pressure on Prime Minister Najib Razak to undertake major reform of the electoral system before he calls widely expected polls.

The current system is biased in favour of his ruling coalition, critics say.

Authorities had banned the rally from the centre of the capital Kuala Lumpur and many political observers believe the negative impact of resulting clashes between police and marchers may cause Najib to delay calling the elections.

A survey by the independent Merdeka Center conducted in the two weeks preceding the rally found that 92 percent of respondents felt the government should clean up the electoral roll before elections.

Another 49 percent said they did not trust the integrity of the electoral process, against 44 percent who did.

Najib must call national elections by early next year, and many observers expect a tight contest after the Anwar-led opposition handed the ruling coalition its worst poll showing ever in 2008.

The organisers of the April rally — the clean-elections group Bersih, a coalition of dozens of NGOs — have become a major force in Malaysian politics

A similar rally in 2011 by the group — which was crushed by police — is widely seen to have pushed Najib to embark on a campaign to soften authoritarian laws in a bid to gain voter support.

Najib also ordered a panel to look into election complaints but the group has said the panel’s recommendations did not go far enough and it has left open the option of further public rallies unless demands are met.

These include cleaning the electoral roll of widespread irregularities, ensuring balloting by millions of overseas Malaysians and equal access to government-controlled traditional media.

92% of voters want electoral roll to be cleaned up before GE-13 is held – Written by  Merdeka Center for Opinion Research

Malaysia Chronicle | BANGI, 25-May-2012 – A survey among voters in Peninsula Malaysia found that nearly all – 92% of voters want the electoral roll to be cleaned up before elections are held.

This sentiment comes on the back of the survey which found only 44% of the respondents expressed confidence that the election process in Malaysia was free from irregularity and abuse; while 49% of the respondents were not confident.

In the same survey, 48% of the respondents agreed that the electoral list was inaccurate and “embedded with doubtful voters such as foreigners, people who were transferred without their knowledge or people with multiple identities”. Only 39% of the respondents disagreed with the statement, i.e. believing the electoral roll was accurate.

52% of the respondents also agreed that election laws should be amended to allow the electoral roll to be challenged in the courts. At the same time, only 37% of the respondents trusted the postal voting system as being transparent and free from political influence and 51% distrusted.

Majority of Peninsular Malaysia voters also support Sabah RCI The poll also asked about Peninsula Malaysia voters view on the Royal Commission Inquiry for the illegal immigrants’ problem in Sabah. An overwhelming number (81%) of the respondents also agreed to the setting up of the RCI.

Majority of voters do not understand BERSIH demands

The poll was concluded a day before the BERSIH 3.0 rally and the survey also found that only 39% of the respondents understood the key demands of the electoral reform pressure group for free and fair election in Malaysia.

When asked about their trust in the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reform, only 34% of the respondents believed it was a sincere effort to reform while 43% of the respondents believed it was an attempt to cover up or divert public attention.

The survey was carried out by Merdeka Center for Opinion Research between 14th and 26th April 2012 to gauge Peninsula Malaysia voters’ perception of current developments.

1,019 registered voters comprising 59% Malay, 32% Chinese and 9 % Indian respondents which was reflective of electoral profile of Peninsula Malaysia were polled.

Respondents were selected on the basis of random stratified sampling along ethnicity, gender and parliament constituency. The poll was conducted via telephone to fixed and mobile line subscribers. The margin of error of the poll is ±3.07%.

Merdeka Center for Opinion Research was formally established in 2001 as an independent organization focused on public opinion research and socio-economic analysis.

Malaysians want electoral roll cleaned up: poll

MSN Philippines News | 25-May-2012 – A rally by tens of thousands of people on April 28 piled pressure on Prime Minister Najib Razak to undertake major reform of the electoral system before he calls widely expected polls.

The current system is biased in favour of his ruling coalition, critics say.

Authorities had banned the rally from the centre of the capital Kuala Lumpur and many political observers believe the negative impact of resulting clashes between police and marchers may cause Najib to delay calling the elections.

A survey by the independent Merdeka Center conducted in the two weeks preceding the rally found that 92 percent of respondents felt the government should clean up the electoral roll before elections.

Another 49 percent said they did not trust the integrity of the electoral process, against 44 percent who did.

Najib must call national elections by early next year, and many observers expect a tight contest after the Anwar-led opposition handed the ruling coalition its worst poll showing ever in 2008.

The organisers of the April rally — the clean-elections group Bersih, a coalition of dozens of NGOs — have become a major force in Malaysian politics

A similar rally in 2011 by the group — which was crushed by police — is widely seen to have pushed Najib to embark on a campaign to soften authoritarian laws in a bid to gain voter support.

Najib also ordered a panel to look into election complaints but the group has said the panel’s recommendations did not go far enough and it has left open the option of further public rallies unless demands are met.

These include cleaning the electoral roll of widespread irregularities, ensuring balloting by millions of overseas Malaysians and equal access to government-controlled traditional media.

Overwhelming 88% of Kota Kinabalu and Penampang voters want RCI to investigate the alleged illegal immigrant issues in Sabah

News Release

Poll Report

88pc of urban Sabahans want RCI on illegal immigrants, survey finds – By Shannon Teoh

The issue of illegal immigrants was cited as the most important concern by 27 per cent of the 411 registered voters surveyed by the Merdeka Center in March. — file pic

The Malaysian Insider | KUALA LUMPUR, 15-May-2012 — Seven out of every eight urban Sabahans want a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into the illegal immigrant problem in the state, which Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders there insist must be held before upcoming elections, according to a recent poll.Independent pollsters Merdeka Center found that 88 per cent of voters in the state capital Kota Kinabalu and its nearby suburb Penampang want a royal panel to investigate the influx of illegal immigrants, who have been blamed for the rise in social and economic problems in the state.

Their presence was also cited as the most important concern by 27 per cent of the 411 registered voters surveyed, far ahead of cost of living and infrastructure at eight per cent each.

“The main reason for those believing the state was headed in the wrong direction was concerns over inflation, poverty and uneven access to development and the large influx of illegal immigrants,” the opinion research house said in a statement today.

Sabah BN has been pushing for an RCI for months now, with federal Cabinet ministers from the state saying such an inquiry “will have little value” if announced after elections and that the issue puts their “political lives on the chopping block”.

They also want Datuk Seri Najib Razak to delay polls until the second half of the year despite Umno leaders appearing bullish after an encouraging turnout of at least 50,000 at its 66th anniversary celebrations last Friday.

According to replies provided in Parliament last year, Sabah’s population was 651,304 in 1970 and grew to 929,299 a decade later. But in the two decades following 1980, the state’s population rose by a staggering 1.5 million people, reaching 2,468,246 by 2000.

Media reports said that, as of 2010, this number has grown further to 3.12 million, with foreigners making up a sizeable 27 per cent or 889,799 of the population.

Opposition leaders have long railed against the BN government for this unusual population explosion, alleging that illegal immigrants have been allowed into the east Malaysian state, and given MyKads and voting rights to help the ruling coalition retain control.

In early February, United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok revealed that the Cabinet had agreed to form an RCI.

Najib was widely expected to announce the panel into what Sabah BN leaders say is the top election issue there when he visited the state later that same month but the prime minister concluded his visit without addressing the issue.

This sparked rumours and Internet news reports of the possibility that Najib had backpedalled on the Cabinet’s decision, with some even claiming a “secret meeting” of Umno warlords had warned the BN chief it would lose a sizeable chunk of votes if the RCI were to lead to a crackdown on the state’s massive population of illegal immigrants.

A Sabah BN insider later told The Malaysian Insider that Cabinet meeting minutes showed that it had agreed to the RCI on February 8 and tasked Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz to co-ordinate the scope of the RCI’s investigation.

He said Najib’s unexpected silence on the issue had not only angered but also embarrassed Sabah BN leaders, particularly those in Upko and PBS, who have been trumpeting their success in pushing for the RCI.

The PM has been coy on the status of the RCI, only saying at a press conference on February 23 that it was still under consideration.

The survey also found that 59 per cent of respondents “thought that other political parties besides BN should be given a chance to prove their abilities to lead people of Sabah” while 31 per cent believe “BN is the only party than can provide for the needs of Sabahans.”

But it found the sentiment was split along ethnic lines with 79 per cent of Chinese preferring to give other parties a chance while four-fifths of Muslim Bumiputeras saying they would stand by the ruling coalition.

The 411 voters, of which 55 per cent were Chinese, 33 per cent non-Muslim Bumiputeras and the rest Muslims, were surveyed in mid-March this year.

Najib’s approval rating up to 69pc – By Shannon Teoh

 

The Malaysian Insider | KUALA LUMPUR, 09-Mar-2012 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s approval rating has surged by 10 percentage points to 69 per cent on the back of an improving economy and the cash handout of RM500 to low-income earners under the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M), according to a recent poll.

Pollsters Merdeka Center found that the prime minister’s support was highest among households earning less than RM1,500 a month at 78 per cent with four-fifths of Indians and 74 per cent of Malays also giving Najib the thumbs up.

But less than half of the 1,022 voters polled in peninsular Malaysia last month said “they were happy with the government.”

Najib’s (picture) ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) is more popular with older voters, receiving 54 per cent support from those aged above 60 but only 39 per cent backing from those younger than 30, according to the survey.

“The findings also show that as many of one-third of respondents who were inclined towards Pakatan Rakyat (PR), reported satisfaction with the prime minister — indicating that such expression of approval may not all translate into votes for the ruling coalition,” Merdeka Center said.

The survey also found those in households earning between RM1,500 to RM3,000 per month, who also receive the BR1M handout, were mostly supportive of the PM and his government.

But approval for the incumbents decreased with earning power, as only 29 per cent of voters earning above RM5,000 said they were happy with Putrajaya.

Najib and his coalition remain least popular among Chinese of whom only 56 per cent are satisfied with the prime minister and just 17 per cent are happy with the federal government.

The Umno president’s popularity had been on a steady decline since hitting a peak of 72 per cent in May 2010, dropping to 69 per cent in November the same year before sliding to 59 per cent in August 2011.

Malaysia’s economy had recovered from a slight contraction in 2009 to record a 7.2 per cent expansion in 2010 before growth slowed again last year.

Support for Malaysia’s Najib jumps ahead of election

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak delivers his closing address at the end of the ruling United Malays National Organisation’s (UMNO) annual gathering in Kuala Lumpur December 3, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad/Files

Reuters India | (Reuters), 09-Mar-2012 – Malaysians’ approval of Prime Minister Najib Razak jumped in recent months, an opinion poll released on Friday showed, putting him on a firm footing ahead of national elections that are expected to be called within months.

Support for Najib rose to 69 percent in February from 59 percent last August, according to the poll conducted by the Merdeka Center, the country’s most respected polling firm.

The firm attributed the higher rating to an improving economy, the disbursement of social funds to lower-income households, and security reforms announced by Najib in the wake of street protests in Kuala Lumpur last year.

The government has handed out cash payments of 500 ringgit to households earning 3,000 ringgit or less per month and increased pay and pensions for the 1.4-million strong civil service, a key vote base for the ruling National Front coalition.

“In our view, the rise in public satisfaction may be due to widespread awareness of the prime minister’s people-friendly initiatives and proposals to improve Malaysia’s democratic credentials,” the Merdeka Center said in a statement.

Najib, who has reached out to Malaysia’s middle class as a reformer, is trying to gain his first electoral mandate and reverse a shockingly bad performance by the ruling coalition in 2008 that saw the three-party opposition make historic gains.

Najib, who took over as prime minister in 2009, can wait until April next year to call the election but most analysts expect him to call it earlier, before the feel-good factor from the recent handouts fades.

The 58-year-old has toured the country in recent weeks to drum up support for his long-ruling United Malays National Organization and his government is expected to introduce a national minimum wage in the coming weeks — another potential boost to poorer families.

The Merdeka Center poll found that support for Najib was highest among poorer Malaysians, reaching 78 percent among households earning less than 1,500 ringgit a month. The survey was carried out between February 10 and 23 among 1,022 registered voters.

(Reporting By Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Robeert Birsel)

Najib says would debate with ‘responsible’ leaders – By Clara Chooi

Najib has yet to accept repeated attempts to get him to debate Anwar. — File pic

The Malaysian Insider | KUALA LUMPUR, 05-Mar-2012 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak expressed today his readiness to participate in a debate but stressed his opponent must be “reasonable” and not prone to raising “conspiracy theories” to win an argument.

The prime minister reminded that the country’s diversity could easily be turned into a “fatal weakness” if political leaders choose provocation over responsibility and fail to restrain themselves during such debates.

“And it worries me that far too many who say they want to lead Malaysia are unable to restrain themselves when they are engaged in debate,” he said in his blog today, without naming any individual.

“For them, no story, no claim or outrageous theory, no matter how baseless or fact-free, is off-limits, even if it does massive damage to the country’s reputation abroad and our domestic stability.”

Najib added that “some in our country” could not resist the allure of raising conspiracy theories as such conjecture could absolve their promoters of responsibility for their own failures.

“Cannot win the argument or get your way? Then it is so much easier to complain that the system is fixed than it is to do the hard work of finding a better argument or humbly admitting one’s error,” he sniped, adding that conspiracy theories belong in “Jason Bourne movies” and not in rational political debates.

The federal opposition has repeatedly urged the prime minister to take on its leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in debate, arguing it would be the best platform for both men to lay out their ideas and policies to help Malaysians decide who to vote for.

The invitation was again raised recently when MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng faced off in a political debate on matters relating to the Chinese community.

Najib, however, is yet to accept the invitation. This has sparked off suggestions that the prime minister was afraid of criticism.

But he insisted today that he accepts dissenting views expressed against him, adding that he would be in the wrong career were he unable to handle them.

“That much I accept. I am happy to argue politics with any reasonable man or woman and appreciate Malaysian’s lively political debate,” Najib said.

According to a recent poll by Merdeka Center, most voters in the peninsula want to see regular debates between the prime minister and political rival Anwar, suggesting that this would help them decide which party to vote for.

Merdeka Center