Malay Mail Online | KUALA LUMPUR, 19-April-2016 ― In the countdown to the May 7 election, a whopping 81 per cent of Sarawakians surveyed across the board by the Merdeka Center have given the thumbs up for Tan Sri Adenan Satem as their chief minister.
The independent pollster said its survey, conducted from 20-26 January this year, showed higher ratings for Adenan, compared to a previous poll in April 2015 where he only had 74 per cent approval from the public.
Adenan is seeking a mandate for the state Barisan Nasional (BN) in his first election as CM after succeeding the office mid-term in February two years ago.
The survey also found that Sarawakians of all colours approved of Adenan’s leadership, with over 90 per cent of Muslim Bumiputera, followed by 85 per cent of non-Muslim Bumiputera and 71 per cent ethnic Chinese.
According to Merdeka Centre, many Sarawakians found Adenan to have “brought significant change” since he took over as chief minister in February 2014.
One of the policies Adenan introduced that got him the most accolades was returning “English as the official language in Sarawak together with Bahasa Malaysia” which almost 83 per cent of Sarawakians agreed with.
His efforts to recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) also gained him support from 19 per cent of ethnic Chinese voters from the total of 68 per cent who agreed with the policy.
Adenan’s decision to allow Sarawak Christians the right to use the Arabic word “Allah” to refer to their God ― which some Muslims claim to be exclusive to Islam ― was also well received among those polled, with 53 per cent supporting the chief minister’s assurance made in March 2014.
Other systemic issues which Adenan has also addressed in his tenure as state chief has also swayed votes onto his side like his awareness towards more infrastructure projects, addressing the illegal logging issues and providing more welfare for the low income groups, the poll concluded.
Merdeka Centre also found 33 per cent or one-third of those polled applauding Adenan’s decision to abolish road toll charges in several locations in Sarawak.
Despite the high ratings however, Merdeka Center said its survey results might “not necessarily translate” to votes for BN in the state polls.
This is because Merdeka Center found that the positive outcomes contributing to Adenan’s approval might differ according to various voter segments.
“For example within certain quarters of the Sarawak Chinese electorate, the delivery of policy changes and improvements may be attributed to the effort of opposition parties such as the DAP.
“Meanwhile Bumiputera voters are likely going to attribute improvements to the BN on account of its continued presence in their communities,” it said in an accompanying statement.
Past surveys by Merdeka Center showed a change in respondents’ sentiments from May 2012 when 56 per cent felt Sarawak was moving towards the wrong direction, to 59 per cent in December 2013 who felt the state was headed in the right direction, but the later view slid to 56 per cent last April.
In the latest survey, 815 registered voters from all 82 state seats to be contested in the Sarawak election were interviewed through fixed line and mobile telephones.
Based on the latest electoral roll gazetted last December, a total of 1,141,294 people are eligible to vote in the Sarawak polls, including 14,000 and 9,500 from the armed forces and the police respectively.