Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad believes that little can be derived from the latest opinion poll which suggested that the only 45 percent of Malaysians approved of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s two-month-old administration.
“What was it (the approval rating) before? Was it higher or lower? If it’s the first study, how can you tell (much from it). (We have to) see first,” said Mahathir when cornered by reporters after a function in Putrajaya.
Yesterday, the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research released its latest survey of 1,067 registered voters from Peninsular Malaysia on Najib’s performance in politics, economy and social issues since taking office as the sixth prime minister on April 3.
Though scoring only 45 percent approval overall, Najib’s popularity ranked highest among the Indians (63 percent) and Malays (53 percent).
Asked on his opinions of Najib’s 1Malaysia policy, Mahathir playfully said that he was in the dark as to what the much-hyped policy was about.
“I have not been told what it is. I’ll have to study it,” said Mahathir, sounding far more subdued that usual.
Prodded further on his general understanding of the much publicised tagline, Mahathir bluntly replied, “Up to now, I have no general understanding (of it)”.
What is 1Malaysia?
Since taking helm in April, Najib has been heavily advocating his ‘1Malaysia: People first, Performance now’ concept as a means of forging national unity and addressing economic woes.
The slogan has been widely heralded by other Barisan Nasional leaders but it is no surprise that the more cautious Mahathir has reserved judgment regarding Najib’s brainchild for now.
Back in 2006 and three-years after stepping down as the country’s longest serving premier, Mahathir went on a warpath against his successor and fifth prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for a host of reasons and honed in on the latter’s Islam Hadhari policy.
Meanwhile, Mahathir was similarly non-committal about Najib’s management of the economy, particularly in the wake of a first-quarter negative six percent growth.
“I don’t know. Nowadays I don’t know anything,” said Mahathir with a shrug.
Dr M on Chin Peng
Asked on the decision to ban former communist guerrilla leader Chin Peng from returning to Malaysia, Mahathir was again non-committal to a straight answer.
“Obviously, a lot of people are not happy. So why make other people unhappy? The government must understand the feelings of the people,” he said.
However, he said that detractors who wish to see Chin Peng’s return should be entitled to their freedom of speech.
Mahathir was speaking to reporters after attending the Perdana Leadership Foundation Essay Contest prize giving ceremony in Putrajaya.
Source : Malaysiakini