Anwar Ibrahim remains a relevant political force, according to a survey by Selangor government think-tank Institut Darul Ehsan (IDE) on who is the best candidate to helm Malaysia.
With regard to Malay respondents, however, the jailed former opposition leader was neck-to-neck with PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.
Out of the 2,018 respondents comprising Selangor voters of all races, 36 percent picked Anwar as the best person to lead Malaysia towards becoming a respected nation.
“This shows how sentiments involving Anwar is still strong,” IDE deputy chairperson Mohammad Redzuan Otham told a press conference in Shah Alam after presenting the findings.
“Previously, there was a high percentage for (former premier) Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) but that may be due to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) coming into the picture and it seems that the momentum did not continue,” he added.
Both Mahathir and Hadi garnered 19 percent respectively in the survey, which also provided respondents with other choices such as DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang (16 percent), Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin (9 percent) and Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu (8 percent).
When broken down according to race, Anwar received 33 percent of support from Malay respondents, whereas Hadi garnered 32 percent and Mahathir 22 percent.
Most Chinese respondents, on the other hand, preferred Lim over Anwar. However, the DAP leader only managed to secure one percent of support among Malay respondents.
Meanwhile, despite Hadi being favoured among Malay respondents, Redzuan said PAS was in a precarious position.
“PAS needs to be careful, because those who support them are only the hardcore supporters,” he said.
When asked on the effects of electoral patterns if PAS were to leave the state government, Redzuan pointed out how the current situation was different from the 2008 and 2013 general elections as this time around, more voters were fence sitters.
“But what’s certain is, Selangor voters will not vote for BN. BN’s popularity continues to decline, so where would PAS go, then?”
Meanwhile, based on the survey, Redzuan is confident that the current state government would continue to helm the government after the next general election.
“If the election is held six months from now, Pakatan will still win, although many things can happen within six months,” he said, citing the possibility of a large-scale corruption scandal involving the Selangor government.
However, based on the current satisfaction level of Selangor voters with the state government, Redzuan said this was not likely to occur.
He cited one question on whether respondents agreed that the local authorities were doing their job or otherwise, in which 50 percent respondents answered in the affirmative.
“This shows that they are satisfied with the state government,” he said.