Survey finds 61% of Malaysians believe country heading in wrong direction, racial split over PM preference

The skyline of Kuala Lumpur on Oct 23, 2019. Economic matters were the biggest concerns faced by Malaysians, followed by leadership, administration, politics and racial issues.
The skyline of Kuala Lumpur on Oct 23, 2019. Economic matters were the biggest concerns faced by Malaysians, followed by leadership, administration, politics and racial issues.PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Voter sentiment in Malaysia towards the Pakatan Harapan government has taken a slide following the handling of various contentious issues, a survey by top pollster Merdeka Centre found.

These include the Jawi lessons in vernacular schools, statements on civil servants' pension scheme and critical allowances.

The polls found that 61 per cent of those surveyed believed that the country was headed in the wrong direction while only 26 per cent felt it was moving on the right track.

Economic matters were the biggest concerns faced by Malaysians, followed by leadership, administration, politics and racial issues.

The survey also showed that Chinese and Indian voters prefer PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

A preference poll between Dr Mahathir and Mr Anwar found that only 14 per cent of Indian voters and 20 per cent of Chinese voters as of November last year preferred the premier.

However, Dr Mahathir's support among the Malays showed an increase from 42 per cent in October 2018 to 58 per cent in November last year.

The survey noted that in July last year, support for Dr Mahathir among the Indians dropped to 69 per cent and there was a 4 per cent increase in support for the premier from Chinese voters during the same period.

The support for Dr Mahathir among the Chinese voters then dropped to 22 per cent in October and subsequently to 20 per cent last November.

 
 
 

On the other hand, Mr Anwar seems to be favoured more among the Indian and Chinese voters while his support among the Malay voters had dwindled.

The survey showed Mr Anwar's support from Indian voters went from 23 per cent in July last year to 62 per cent in November the same year.

During the same period, Mr Anwar also saw support from the Chinese community rise from 18 to 58 per cent.

However, his popularity among Malay supporters dropped drastically throughout 2019, from 31 per cent in October 2018, to 13 per cent in November last year.