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.

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