KUALA LUMPUR – PREMIER Najib Razak’s efforts to win back support have some way to go yet as only 45 per cent of Malaysians say they are satisfied with his performance, a survey by an independent pollster revealed yesterday.
His approval rating improved by only one percentage point from just before he became Prime Minister on April 3, despite his resolute attempts to remake the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration into a people-friendly government.
There was, however, a silver lining. The survey showed a dramatic increase in support from the Indian community, indicating that measures targeted at the community have had an impact.
There is also a growing optimism about the direction that Malaysia is taking, compared with a year ago.
The survey, conducted about 1-1/2 months after Datuk Seri Najib became Premier, is a quarterly one by the Merdeka Centre.
‘The rating was a bit lower than expected, but his first month was a mixed bag. There were many positive things, but people were also not happy with the Perak situation and related arrests,’ said its director Ibrahim Suffian.
He was referring to the political chaos that had embroiled Perak since the Pakatan Rakyat government was toppled through defections in February. The BN became the new government amid widespread dissatisfaction among Malaysians.
The chaos overshadowed Mr Najib’s efforts to tackle longstanding grievances such as the pro-Malay economic policies and disputes over religious conversion.
Since he became Premier, he has removed the bumiputera quotas for 27 sub-sectors of the service industry, banned forced conversion of children to Islam, and reached out to the aggrieved minority communities.
The release of five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders, and the ban on forced conversions which affected mostly Hindu families, appeared to have helped win back some support from the Indians.
Source : Straits Times