Malaysia election: Public mood towards BN on upswing

Campaigning for Malaysia's 14th general election began yesterday. Two observers give their take on how it could play out.

An assessment of the public mood in Malaysia towards the incumbent Barisan Nasional (BN) - based on a number of national-and state-level surveys we conducted in the past two months - showed that while a majority of voters remain dissatisfied, their numbers have declined significantly since the "dark days" of mid-2015. Voters' mood towards BN has improved slightly, albeit still at lower levels than at the last general election.

Merdeka Centre's recent survey done between April 9 and 16 found 54 per cent of voters expressing the view that the country was "headed in the wrong direction" compared with 38 per cent who believed it was heading in the "right direction". It should be noted that while still negative, this sentiment is markedly improved compared with that expressed by voters in 2015 and 2016. Also, the number of voters who felt that the country was heading in the right direction had improved significantly when compared with mid-2015 after the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) and amid media reporting of the 1MDB scandal.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 29, 2018, with the headline 'Public mood towards BN on upswing'. Print Edition | Subscribe