Foes unimpressed with Najib’s Umno popularity – By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

The Malaysian Insider | KUALA LUMPUR, 31-Dec-2009 — The whopping 93 per cent popularity rating received by Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak from within his own party comes as no surprise to his political rivals.

Influential PKR elections strategy director Saifuddin Nasution in an immediate respond to the rating said Najib’s fame is not due to the ‘reformist’ image that he’s trying to portray, but rather, caused by instituting a new wealth spread system for leaders within his party.

“Under then president Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the projects were only given to his so-called advisors or better known as the ‘4th floor boys’.

“But with Najib, the politics of reward is good as projects are well spread to Umno’s division and branch leaders hence the popularity,” Saifuddin told The Malaysian Insider.

A recent survey conducted by independent polling house Merdeka Center indicated strong backing of Najib by members of his own party with 93 per cent of them saying the country was headed in the right direction under his leadership.

A total of 95 per cent of Umno delegates surveyed also expressed satisfaction with Najib since he took over as party president. Notably, 66 per cent of party delegates polled felt that Umno had recovered from the problems that led to its poor performance in the last general election.

Saifuddin, who is also MP for Machang, however, said it would be foolish to swallow the rating full without any critical input and for him, his popularity will be unquestionable only if it has been put to the test.

“There is no contest for the party’s second highest leader. Najib’s popularity can only be tested if there is contestation from his No. 2,” he said, referring to the “traditional” spat between Umno presidents and their deputies which caused all of the party’s major crisis in the past.

But not all aspects of the popularity rating is “negative” added the PKR leader.

Umno’s constitutional amendment that would see direct elections for the party’s top posts initiated by Najib could also have contributed to the overwhelming support he receives.

“We know for a fact that the old quota system introduced by then Umno president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is not popular among the party leaders and grassroots so the amendments mat have made Najib very well-liked,” he said.

Meanwhile, PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub speaking to The Malaysian Insider said Najib’s popularity within Umno is utterly irrelevant to the electorates as far as he’s concerned.

“It’s got nothing to do with good governance as he has often failed to initiate reforms in key areas. It’s just a survey where he can tower himself,” he said, adding sarcastically that Najib’s multi-million spending on boosting his image “has finally paid off.”

Poll shows strong Umno backing for Najib

The Malaysian Insider | KUALA LUMPUR, 30-Dec-2009 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak appears to have won overwhelming support from his own party, with a recent poll showing 93 per cent of Umno delegates saying the country was headed in the right direction, largely because of the “quality of national leadership” and “good administration”.

A total of 95 per cent of Umno delegates surveyed also expressed satisfaction with Najib since he took over as party president. Notably, 66 per cent of party delegates polled felt that Umno had recovered from the problems that led to its poor performance in the last general election.

The results of the survey by the independent Merdeka Center, commissioned by a local research house, suggest Najib is on a much stronger footing compared with his predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi prior to Election 2008 as he prepares plans to go to the polls, most likely either in 2011 or 2012.

According to a summary of the poll provided by Merdeka Center, satisfaction with the party president among delegates was very high at 95 per cent, with 60 per cent of them saying they were “very satisfied” with his performance since taking over the leadership of Umno.

“The main reason for the strong approval stems from the perceived improvement in leadership qualities,” said the Merdeka Center.

Merdeka Center conducted the poll between Nov 4 and 11 of 358 Umno delegates from the most recent recent party assembly.

Coverage of the survey included at least one individual from each party division.

The poll also showed strong backing from party delegates for Najib’s policies and ideas, including his 1 Malaysia concept and moves to liberalise the economy.

A total of 83 per cent supported moves to liberalise the economy while 94 per cent backed the 1 Malaysia concept.

Overwhelming backing for Najib in his policies suggests that the prime minister will not have to watch his back in pursuing reforms in government and in his party.

Crucially, the poll shows the Umno president has secured strong support from his party in facing off a strong opposition in the form of Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

The survey also found that 83 per cent agreed that “Umno should be inclusive of all Malaysians, not just Malays”. However the Merdeka Center noted that support for the idea was somewhat lower among those delegates below 30 at 77 per cent.

Notably, the poll found that 64 per cent of party delegates supported the remarks made by Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who has been the target of heavy attacks from conservatives in the party, that “Malays should break out from the siege mentality”. But among younger delegates below 30, only 38 per cent supported Khairy’s views.

However, the poll also found that 70 per cent of delegates agreed that “Malay rights and interests were being threatened by other ethnic groups in Malaysia”. Younger delegates below 30 agreed most with this statement, with 76 per cent backing the idea.

An overwhelming number of the Umno delegates polled believed that the party’s public image was generally positive, but at the same time 85 per cent felt Umno still needed to change or reform.

When asked what reforms were needed, 32 per cent said “continued improvement in party leadership qualities”, followed by 14 per cent who said “the attitude of party members”, while 12 per cent felt that party members needed to work harder to “strengthen the party”.

Only two per cent of those polled suggested “ending cronyism and nepotism” as a type of change needed by the party.

Asked about the specific problems faced by Umno, only 13 per cent of delegates felt the party was “too Malay-centric”, 27 per cent agreed that the party “favoured its own members over others”, 33 per cent agreed that it was not “taking public views seriously”, 47 per cent agreed that “money politics among office bearers” was a problem and 52 per cent agreed that there was “corruption in government”.

By Leslie Lau
Consultant Editor

 

 

Malaysians see country as seriously corrupt

Angus Reid Global Monitor | 26-Nov-2009 – The vast majority of people in Malaysia say corruption is rampant in the country, according to a poll by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research. 40 per cent of respondents say corruption is a very serious issue in Malaysia, while 41 per cent say it is a somewhat serious problem.

The United Malays National Organization (UMNO)—the biggest party in a coalition of 12 political factions known as the National Front (BN)—has formed the government after every election since the Asian country attained its independence from Britain in 1957.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over as prime minister in October 2003, after the retirement of Mahathir Mohamad, who served for more than 22 years. In the March 2004 election, the National Front secured 198 of the 219 seats in the House of Representatives. Abdullah was sworn in as head of government with the biggest majority in three decades.

In the March 2008 ballot, the National Front won 140 seats in the legislature. The coalition’s share of the vote dropped drastically, from 64.4 per cent in 2004, to 50.27 per cent in 2008. According to Human Rights Watch, the most recent election was “grossly unfair” and marred by irregularities.

In September 2008, Abdullah announced his intention to step down in 2009. Najib Razak—who served as deputy prime minister and finance minister—took over as head of government in April.

Earlier this month, the anti-corruption group Transparency International (TI) released its annual corruption perception index, showing that Malaysia has dropped from the 48th place to the 56th spot in a ranking of 180 countries.

Datuk Paul Low, TI’s president in Malaysia, praised the Najib administration’s efforts to stem corruption by creating the Anti-Corruption Commission, among other things, but warned that Malaysia’s low score this year “may be attributed to the perception of little progress in combating corruption, and lack of political will in implementing effective anti-corruption measures.”

Polling Data

How serious do you think corruption is in this country?

Very serious 40%
Somewhat serious 41%
Somewhat not serious 12%
Not serious at all 1%
Not sure 6%

Source: Merdeka Center for Opinion Research
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,241 Malaysian adults, conducted from Sept. 16 to Oct. 12, 2009. Margin of error is 2.8 per cent.

Papers and TV zoom in on graft

The Star online | KUALA LUMPUR, 17-Nov-2009 : Newspapers and television are still the major source of information on corruption for the public despite the existence of blogs and online news portals, a survey found.

Although the survey by Merdeka Centre showed that only 521 of the 1,241 Malaysians asked could identify any case of corruption highlighted, more than half of them or 270 were satisfied or somewhat satisfied by the performance of traditional media.

However, respondents in the survey generally wanted to see more reports on corruption from newspapers and television compared to what had already been highlighted.

“While Malaysians agreed that the media was the key in eradicating corruption and improving transparency, only a third of the respondents felt that it was effective in its role,” said Merdeka Centre director Ibrahim Suffian.

Those surveyed also felt that media coverage on corruption would have a positive impact, instead of tarnishing the country’s image, while 48% thought that prevalent laws were hindering their role.

The poll also showed that 83% of the respondents believed that the media had a role in improving integrity and transparency in the country and that younger people were more interested in cases of corruption.

Interviews for the survey – commissioned by the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) – were conducted by telephone on respondents aged 20 years and above, selected randomly, based on their states of residence, gender, ethnicity and age groups.

CIJ executive director Gayathry Venkites-waran said the media must be allowed to play a more active role if the Government wanted to be perceived as serious in combating corruption.

“The media can do so by producing more investigative journalism and critical pieces to further inform the public on the threats of corruption,” she said.

Graft is most serious problem country faces, new poll shows

The Malaysian Insider | KUALA LUMPUR, 16-Nov-2009 — Corruption and abuse of power is the most important problem which needs to be solved, a new survey of voters in the country released today showed.

The survey by the independent Merdeka Center also showed a whopping 74 per cent of those polled were dissatisfied with the government’s handling of corruption and abuse of power issues.

Merdeka Center conducted the poll, commissioned by the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), between Sept 16 and Oct 12 this year, and has a margin of error of 2.78 per cent.

The poll was conducted before the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) charged a number of minor political figures and officials for corruption and abuse of power.

Among those polled, 52 per cent felt the country was headed in the right direction, while 47 per cent were of the opinion that Malaysia was headed in the wrong direction.

The economic recovery was cited as the main reason by those who felt the country was headed in the right direction.

For those who felt the country was going in the wrong direction, political instability and graft were listed as the top reasons.

A total of 13 per cent polled felt corruption and abuse of power was the most serious problem that needed addressing, followed by social problems at 12 per cent. Just 10 per cent thought crime and public safety was the country’s most pressing issue.

While 74 per cent were dissatisfied with the government’s handling of graft, a total of 67 per cent were also unhappy with how the administration dealt with social problems.

Among those surveyed, a very high 66 per cent were also dissatisfied with how crime and public safety were being addressed.

Unsurprisingly, 81 per cent of respondents felt corruption was a serious problem.

Notably, the kind of graft listed as most serious was petty corruption, with 42 per cent viewing it as “very serious.”

This was followed by nepotism (41 per cent), fraud (37 per cent), corruption among politicians (34 per cent), grand corruption (30 per cent) and administrative corruption (24 per cent).

An example of petty corruption faced by the public was given by a 24-year-old female in Kuala Lumpur who told of her experience when stopped by the police for a traffic offence.

“He asked how I wanted to settle it. Should it be ‘inside court’ or ‘outside court’,” she told the Merdeka Center.

The MACC was also perceived to be bias while one respondent pointed out that pinning an “Anti Rasuah” badge on the uniforms was ineffective.

Notably, one respondent pointed out that the Selangor Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) was “good because people now get to know what has happened in the past.”

On media reporting of corruption, 58 per cent could not name an incident of corruption that was widely reported in the media.

Of the 42 per cent who could, some 42 per cent cited the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

This was followed by corruption among politicians (12 per cent), allegations about former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Khir Toyo (eight per cent), Teoh Beng Hock/MACC (seven per cent) and money politics in Umno (six per cent).

Who speaks for Islam in Malaysia? – by Dina Zaman

The Malaysian Insider | 11-November-2009  — Some time ago I was interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for a radio feature, and was asked about “… the creeping conservatism of (Islam) in Malaysia)…”. When I responded (to Kartika’s whipping) that this was what many Muslims wanted, even though they felt that an example should be made on the ruling elite who drank and led corrupt and un-Islamic lifestyles, Kartika’s punishment was apt. True Muslims would not or dare err.

I also mentioned that many Muslims believe fervently that by having an Islamic state, the rights and freedoms of non-Muslims will be protected. A prime example of that would be Kelantan. Nobody is stopping them from attending concerts, and so forth. It is just the impressionable young and liberal Malays who want to attend these events and lead “… a hedonistic Western lifestyle…”

I said all this with confidence, because this was what I have observed and been told by my peers. And they were not uneducated and unexposed hicks; my peers have been educated abroad and are successful professionals.

When it comes to the Western media, and so-called “progressive”, “liberal” Muslims, their idea of Islam is different from the grassroots’ idea of their faith. I have been accused of being a relativist; I beg to differ. I’m a realist.

While this country’s Constitution says Malaysia’s official religion is Islam and that Malays are constitutionalised Muslims, and that Malaysia is not an Islamic state, Muslims in Malaysia, especially Malay-Muslims, do not see a demarcation of the state and faith.

Zulkifli Noordin may be an anomaly to secularists and human rights activists, but there are many Zulkifli Noordins in this country. This is not a pessimistic view of faith in Malaysia: this is a realistic view of Malaysia’s Islam.

In a joint study conducted by Merdeka Center and the Asia Foundation, “National Youth Survey 2008”, it was discovered that religious identity was very important to youth today. Thirty-eight per cent would identify themselves as a follower of a certain religion. Identification as Muslim was very important to Malay respondents. Among the Malays, 62 per cent chose to be identified as a Muslim but Muslim Bumiputeras from Sabah and Sarawak preferred to be identified as Malaysians where three in five Muslim Bumiputeras wanted to first call themselves Malaysians. The new generation of observant Muslims are more conscious of their faith than their parents and older generations.

So, who speaks for Islam, globally and in Malaysia?

Anyone who can think and communicate, despite his or her Islamic leanings.

Your Islam may not be my idea of Islam.

One interesting example to see how one version of Islam can be misconstrued is a feature which appeared in the Huffington Post on Oct 24. Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, recounted her television interview on Muslimah Dilema as “…unpleasant surprise, I found out on air that I was joined by a member of Hizbul Tahrir (HT), a marginal but controversial group which denounces Western democracy and calls for the creation of a pan-Islamic state in the Muslim world.”

“The HT representative on the programme dismissed or ‘reinterpreted’ findings I presented so as to not challenge the group’s simplistic utopian ideology which holds liberty in contempt as morally decadent. For example, as I regularly report, our research shows that far from denouncing democracy, Muslims around the world say it is among the things they most admire about the West, specifically mentioning ‘liberty’ as a desirable attribute. Around the world, from Morocco to Malaysia, Muslim respondents described their respect for much of what the West holds dear: freedom of the press, the rule of law, and transparency and accountability of government.

“To them, my crime was that I reported that many Muslim women wanted sharia as a source of legislation. I also explained that Muslim women surveyed by Gallup said they believed they should have access to equal legal rights, free employment, voting without family influence, and even leadership positions in government. This suggests that many Muslim women see sharia differently from those who use it to deny women rights. For simply stating the results of the survey research, I stood accused of ‘endorsing’ Taliban-like rule, and downplaying the abuses done in the name of sharia.”

The law of relativity, et tu?

In Malaysia, the way I see it, the main concerns about the practice of Islam are (1) Muslims in Malaysia are generally from the Sunni school of thought and (2) we are not allowed to challenge and question ulamas.

But in an increasingly pluralistic Muslim Malaysia — we have minority Muslims such as the Shiites, the Ahmadiyyahs (though this may be contested greatly even by progressive Muslims as we believe the Last Messenger was Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and in the Second Coming of Christ, while the Ahmadiyyahs believe that the latter will not happen and Christ or Isa has been “reincarnated” in their “prophet” Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. More on the Ahmadiyyahs in subsequent articles) and a growing number of Chinese and Indian Muslims as well as the Muslim migrant community — there will be clashes and different interpretations of Islam. Does that make them any less Muslim than the majority? Is the majority correct? Reading the Malay tabloids and newspapers already shows that some of the majority follow rather strange… leaders or prophets of Islam!

Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin’s rather dramatic religious adventure should be taken positively. The fact that such a personality has challenged the authority of a long-established elite, and given us Muslims the permission to think is a minor revolution, so to speak. (On this note: does this mean that the local neighbourhood ustaz is no longer allowed to lecture and talk about Islam in the private homes of his constituency?)

We still have a long way to go. We have yet to reconcile our religion on racial lines: Malay Muslims versus Chinese Muslims and Indian Muslims (who are not considered Bumiputera by the way), for example. There is a chasm among the minority liberals, and factions among conservative Muslims. We must also remember that there have been political and ideological differences in Islam, which has enriched and also embittered Muslims throughout time. If you read John Esposito’s book “Who Speaks For Islam”, the Muslims surveyed come from different backgrounds. There is only one Islam — all these labels have been created to belittle opponents and ridicule them.

So who speaks for Islam in Malaysia?

All of us.

Now if we can only agree to disagree.

Independent polls gaining influence

The Malaysian Insider | KUALA LUMPUR, 09-Nov-2009 — When the Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak was unseated through defections in February, the local people were clearly unhappy.

But just how unhappy?

The independent pollster, Merdeka Centre, did a survey in the state to find out.

Its poll found that half the Malay respondents believed the palace’s decision to install a Barisan Nasional (BN) government, instead of calling for fresh polls, was in line with the people’s wishes. In contrast, a whopping 82 per cent of the Chinese said it was not. That would have been that, except for the oddest twist of fate.

A Perak MP died of a heart attack, triggering a by-election in Bukit Gantang two months later.

The election result tallied with the survey findings. The Malay vote for the BN came in at around 55 per cent, while the Chinese support was a low 22 per cent. It rarely happens as neatly as this, but this was one example of how polling can be a fair measure of the Malaysian political pulse.

Political polling is still fairly new in Malaysia, although there has always been some form of pulse-checking. Umno, for instance, had grassroots systems which had one party member taking care of 10 voters in their village. This used to be very effective. But that system broke down spectacularly in last year’s general election.

The BN did not have an inkling of the massive ground shift that dealt it the worst electoral showing in 50 years. Its village methods had failed in an urban setting — and more than 60 per cent of Malaysians now live in urban centres.

That was when independent polling received a boost as it appeared more reliable than in-house sources and party intelligence. Even before the general election, Merdeka Centre had published several surveys that revealed a sense of Chinese and Indian unhappiness. Not enough attention was paid to the findings, and the BN paid a heavy price in terms of seats.

“Polling is extremely important so that you don’t risk fooling yourself with internal bias. That said, it can still be a challenge to base decisions on poll results because of other pressures,” said Nelleita Omar, managing director of Vox Malaysia.

Vox Malaysia is the newest polling and consulting firm in the country. It is run by ex-policy staffers from former premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s office.

The interest in poll data is certainly noticeable now. Ibrahim Suffian, director of Merdeka Centre, said there was a surge of interest immediately after last year’s March 8 general election. Shell- shocked political parties were scrambling for answers, and the public also sought to make sense of the topsy-turvy landscape. This started to change public discourse.

“People were not clear about the mood before. But when we started to publish our surveys, it changed the debate because there’s now the ability to quantify sentiments,” said Ibrahim.

It does seep into the debate, going by the chatter online. People may not discuss surveys, but the data they provide helps shape arguments to some extent. But polling, which is still in its infancy in Malaysia, does not yet have the reach to influence public opinion. The impact on public policymakers is also relatively low, compared to, say, private companies which have wide experience with using polling data to position their products.

“In politics, it’s a lot harder. The span of products, if you like, is very wide. But it’s the same principle, you have to find the key issues and zoom in,” said Nelleita.

She said while polling had become more visible in recent years, there is still a gap between retrieving data and using it to structure policies.

It is the political parties that have begun to use the data strategically. DAP election strategist Liew Chin Tong said while they realise it is not an exact science, polls can yield useful information if they are properly done and interpreted. “It’s a snapshot at a particular time, and political sentiment is notoriously fluid. But if it’s consistently monitored, it can be a fair reflection of ground feeling,” he said.

In the last general election, Liew said, the opposition parties had taken several good decisions partly influenced by polling data.

One, the three parties decided not to form a coalition then but to work together in an electoral pact. Polling had indicated that voters were not ready for an official alliance but also did not want the opposition to fight one another. Two, the parties avoided campaigning on a platform of winning federal power because surveys showed that this would discomfit voters. Both strategies worked.

“It’s not good to be too dependent on polls as they are never accurate, but they can show part of the picture and be one of the many tools,” said Liew.

The accuracy of polling is always an issue, of course. That depends largely on the expertise with which it is carried out, the frequency, and the skill in reading the data. Still, it looks like political polling is here to stay — and grow. As Ibrahim noted, the 2008 election has changed the Malaysian mindset significantly. There’s a distinct loosening of what he called “brand loyalty”.

“People look for quality, and that has changed the way politicians have to react to them,” he said.

Malaysians have also become more vocal, and pollsters see far less of the frustrating blank looks and shrugs in response to surveys. Everyone has an opinion now; the question is how to read it. — The Straits Times

MCA chief polls 32% from Chinese community over Chua’s 5%

The Star Online | PETALING JAYA, 09-October-2009 : A Merdeka Centre poll found that MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat was the preferred choice to lead the party instead of suspended deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

Almost one third (32.2% ) of the 273 respondents from the Chinese community indicated that they preferred Ong over Dr Chua who polled 5.1%.

Among the 146 Chinese respondents who said they cared about the MCA problem, 60% of them said their choice was Ong while 9.6% wanted Dr Chua.

The Merdeka Centre polled a total of 846 respondents of all races, who were asked for their views about leaders who were corrupt and marred by scandals.

It found that 64% of them strongly disagreed that a leader tainted by sex scandal could lead a major political party while 76% strongly disagreed that a leader charged with money politics in party elections should be allowed to contest in a by-election or general election.

The poll also asked for their perception of the problems faced by the MCA to which 64% of all Chinese respondents felt that it was an internal affair of the party. Asked on their views on MCA’s reforms, 39% of the 846 respondents in peninsular Malaysia felt that its leaders should give priority to resolving the in-fighting.

Another 27% of the respondents wanted the party to focus on regaining the confidence of all Malaysians, while 10% of them wanted the party to win back the confidence of the Chinese community.

The poll also touched on Barisan Nasional reforms, the PKFZ controversy and perceptions of Pakatan Rakyat. The respondents also felt that MCA leaders should concentrate on resolving in-fighting in the party the most.

About 34% of the respondents felt that unless Umno carried out reforms extensively, changes in other component parties would mean little.

Honeymoon over for Malaysian PM as popularity drops

Channel News Asia | KUALA LUMPUR, 08-October-2009 : Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s popularity ratings have dropped, according to a poll released on Thursday which indicated that excitement over his appointment six months ago had faded.

The Merdeka Centre research firm said that 56 per cent of 1,027 people surveyed were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with Najib’s performance as premier, down from the 65 per cent support he enjoyed in June.

The boost in his polls numbers in June had been attributed to a series of economic reforms, and an olive branch extended to ethnic minorities in the multicultural nation during his first 100 days in office.

“People are settling down after the initial euphoria over a new prime minister when he made a lot of announcements,” Merdeka Centre director Ibrahim Suffian told AFP.

Ibrahim said the ruling coalition now needs a boost from a victory in a by-election this weekend, when it is seeking to break a winning streak by the opposition which has won seven out of eight special votes held over the past year.

The seat of Bagan Pinang in the parliament of central Negri Sembilan state is currently held by Najib’s coalition, and it is credited with a strong chance of retaining the seat.

The opposition will be represented by a candidate from the conservative Islamic party PAS, one of three component parties in the alliance.

The Merdeka Centre survey showed Najib’s support had fallen among all ethnic groups in Malaysia, which is dominated by majority Muslim Malays, but also home to large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.

Najib has been partly dismantling a decades-old system of positive discrimination for Malays, who enjoyed benefits in education, housing and jobs, which had previously been seen as a political taboo.

He has also said that he is intent on reclaiming the support of minorities, who shifted to the opposition in elections a year ago which dealt the ruling coalition its worst results in half a century.

– AFP/so

Six months on, Najib’s approval rating dips slightly

Sin Chew Jit Poh | KUALA LUMPUR, 08-October-2009 (The Malaysian Insider) — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s approval rating has fallen slightly, with 56 per cent of Malaysians satisfied with his performance as Prime Minister, compared with a high of 65 per cent in June, according to a new poll released today.

The poll, conducted by the independent Merdeka Center to mark Najib’s sixth month as PM, showed that many Malaysians found his efforts at reducing corruption and crime still wanting.

But a majority of those polled are satisfied with Najib’s efforts in improving the education system, managing the economy and raising government efficiency.

Overall, the survey found that the number of people dissatisfied with Najib’s performance as PM remained about the same at 23 per cent, compared with 22 per cent in June.

The Merdeka Center said the poll was conducted by telephone among 1027 randomly selected registered voters from Sept 4-14. The margin of error is 3.06 per cent.

A total of 60 per cent of the respondents were Malay, 30 per cent Chinese and nine per cent Indians.

Overall, 47 per cent of respondents felt the country was headed in the right direction and 34 per cent said it was headed in the wrong direction. The rest, at 19 per cent, did not respond.

Broken down along race lines, 59 per cent of Malays felt the country was headed in the right direction, compared with 18 per cent of Chinese and 70 per cent of Indians.

On the PM’s job approval rating, 64 per cent of Malay voters were satisfied, with 21 per cent dissatisfied while 15 per cent did not respond.

Among the Chinese respondents, 36 per cent were satisfied with Najib, 25 per cent dissatisfied while 38 per cent did not respond.

Among Indians, 68 per cent were satisfied, 27 per cent dissatisfied while five per cent did not respond.

A total of 48 per cent of respondents were dissatisfied with Najib’s efforts in reducing the crime rate with only 39 per cent satisfied.

On efforts to reduce corruption, 50 per cent were dissatisfied while only 35 per cent were satisfied.

Najib scored better in the areas of education, the economy and improving government efficiency.

Among respondents, 56 per cent were satisfied with his performance in improving the education system, compared with 29 per cent who were dissatisfied.

On improving government efficiency, 54 per cent of respondents were satisfied while only 29 per cent were dissatisfied.

A total of 52 per cent of respondents were happy with Najib’s handling of the economy with only 30 per cent dissatisfied. (By Leslie Lau/ The Malaysian Insider)

Merdeka Center