malaysiakini.com | 15-Sept-2015 – The ‘Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu’ rally has found little traction among Malay voters, according to independent pollster Merdeka Centre.
This is despite the rally being touted as a gathering to uphold Malay dignity and to counter the predominantly Chinese Bersih 4, which saw participants stomping on images of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.
A telephone survey by Merdeka Centre showed that only 24 percent of respondents supported the rally. Of these, eight percent expressed strong support, while 16 percent of respondents expressed some support.
Meanwhile, 53 percent of respondents do not support the rally, of whom 38 percent said they strongly do not support, while 15 percent somewhat do not support.
A total of 21 percent are unsure about their view on the rally, while another one percent refused to respond.
The survey was conducted between Sept 10 and Sept 15, involving 516 Malay voters across all states in peninsular Malaysia. The margin of error is reported to be ±4.31 percent.
Malay voters more concerned over fundamental issues
Merdeka Centre said in a press release that its findings show that Malay voters are not attracted to the causes of the ‘Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu’, nor the earlier Bersih 4 rally on Aug 29 and 30.
“In our view, Malay voters are at present largely more concerned over fundamental issues such as cost of living, employment and business opportunities as well as the impact of the Goods and Services Tax.
“While the rally may result in a sizable attendance, the survey results suggest that the turnout would be reflective of the mobilisation efforts of its organisers rather than a broad-based participation of the Malay electorate,” it said.
The leading reasons cited for not supporting the rally are concerns that it would create chaos (19 percent), rally did not appear to have clear objectives (13 percent), and concerns that it would create ethnic tensions (seven percent).
On the other hand, 17 percent of respondents say they support the rally to protect dignity of the Malays, which is the stated objective of the organisers.
Another objective, which is to protest against the Bersih 4 rally, was only cited as a reason to support the rally by one percent of respondents, while two percent say they rally to support the government, BN and Umno.
In comparison, in Merdeka Centre’s previous survey on the Bersih 4 rally, only 23 percent of Malays are in favour of the rally while 70 percent are not in favour of it.
The leading reason for Malays to oppose the Bersih 4 rally, it found, was the fear that it could spark violence and chaos (56 percent) and that they do not believe the rally would achieve anything (22 percent).
Curiously, although BN supporters are more likely to support tomorrow’s rally than opposition supporters (36 percent versus 25 percent), the level of non-support for the rally in both groups are similar (56 percent versus 60 percent).
The level of non-support of the rally is also higher amongst respondents without Internet access (61 percent) compared to respondents with Internet access (51 percent).
Meanwhile in urban areas, 25 percent of respondents say they support the rally compared to 52 percent who do not; while in rural areas, the figure is 24 percent and 56 percent respectively.