Malaysia: Malay support for Anwar as PM remains weak, says pollster

  • Support from Malay voters for Anwar Ibrahim remained weak compared to Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a survey by Merdeka Centre found.
  • In a national survey carried out between 22-29 Nov 19, the pollster asked respondents which of the two they would prefer to lead the country in the future.
  • 58% of Malay respondents said they preferred Dr Mahathir, an increase from 42% the prime minister enjoyed in 2018. In comparison, just 13% of Malay respondents said they preferred Anwar, a decline from 31% in 2018.
  • Conversely, Anwar enjoys better support among non-Malays. 58% of Chinese respondents and 62% of Indian respondents said they preferred the PKR president to lead the country.
  • This is an increase of 26% and 18% respectively from the year prior. In comparison, just 20% of Chinese respondents and 14% of Indian respondents picked Dr Mahathir, a decline from 71% and 53% respectively, from a year prior.
  • Overall, Dr Mahathir enjoyed support from 42% of respondents across all ethnic groups with Anwar receiving support from 32% of respondents, as Nov 19.
  • The survey, published in Merdeka Centre’s Malaysia Political Developments and Trajectories Update in Jan 20 did not state how many respondents were involved and where they were from.
  • Merdeka Centre also said the prime minister transition has raised uncertainties over the nature, timing and outcome of the transfer of power from Dr Mahathir to Anwar.
  • The report noted “increase internal dynamics and friction” between the two leaders, leading to “increased speculation and suspicion.”
  • As of 22 Nov 19, just 20% of respondents across all ethnic groups felt the country was moving in the right direction, down from a peak of 64% in Jun 18.

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