DR Mahathir Mohamad’s mission to drive Prime Minister Najib Razak out of Putrajaya in the 14th general election will fail, a nationwide survey has shown.
The Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research poll conducted in December finds that although Barisan Nasional’s (BN) share of the popular vote is likely to shrink further, a combination of three-cornered fights and redelineation could enable the coalition to regain a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) fractious nature could also drive the opposition’s failure, concludes the the survey, which results were presented at the CIMB Malaysia Corporate Day last week.
“BN is just 13 seats short of regaining a two-thirds majority in Dewan Rakyat. With an intra-opposition deal looking increasingly remote, BN is in a position to regain its two-thirds,” said Merdeka Centre director Ibrahim Suffian.
“The opposition’s prospects range from slim to zero as PAS leaders appear keen to prevent a PH victory. PAS seems ready to assist Umno on the grounds of preserving Malay political hegemony.”
PAS may see losses in Kelantan and Selangor in return for “unspecified rewards”, the survey said.
In short, BN’s projected victory will have little to do with Najib’s policies or the coalition’s appeal.
If Najib wins, he will owe much of his victory to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, whose decision to let his party stand apart from PH would have effectively split the Malay vote for the opposition to tilt the contest in Umno’s favour.
Key battle states in GE14 will be Kedah, Selangor, Kelantan, Terengganu, Johor, and Sabah.
Voters sentiment towards PH on the decline
The survey notes that public opinion of the opposition took a dip in December.
Only 21% of the total respondents said they are “happy” with PH, and only 13% of Malay respondents feel the same.
At the same time, opinion of the government has steadily improved since September although the public mood remains cautious due to economic and political factors.
In December, 37% of respondents said the country was headed in the right direction and 50% disagreed.
The study shows that the top three concerns of Malaysians are still inflation (68%), corruption (36%) and job opportunities (19%).
Other concerns are housing, political instability, preservation of Malay rights, weakness of leadership, and deteriorating race relations.
That the prime minister’s integrity was called into question and the 1Malaysia Development Bhd financial scandal are the respondents’ least concerns, at 3% and 2%, respectively.
Najib’s position in Umno has strengthened, due to the lack of credible alternative leadership, his Malay-Muslim image, and improving economic sentiments .