New Malaysia prime minister's poll rating inches up

By Sunday May 31st, 2009 No Comments

 KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – The ratings of Malaysia’s new prime minister, Najib Razak, edged slightly higher according to a poll published on Monday, although fewer than half of voters who responded said he was doing a good job.

Najib’s poll rating climbed one percentage point to 45 percent from a poll taken before he took office on April 3. He replaced Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who presided over big election losses in 2008 and a string of by-election defeats.

The new prime minister faces the tasks of rebuilding the National Front coalition that has ruled this Southeast Asian country for 51 years and boosting an export-dependent economy that shrank by 6.2 percent in the first quarter of 2009 from a year ago.

To do so, he has pledged to open up more sectors of the economy to foreign investment and as a result is removing some of the economic privileges given to the majority Malay population.

While 56 percent of the 1,067 surveyed by independent pollster the Merdeka Canter between May 6-15 said they believed moves to liberalise the services sector were positive, Malays were less enthusiastic.

“Outward agreement of the measures was more subdued among Malay voters with 37 percent expressing themselves positively,” the pollster said.

The biggest worry for Malaysians was the economy with 31 percent citing “unfavourable economic conditions in general” as their main concern.

According to the poll, 41 percent of respondents believed Malaysia was headed in the right direction, up from 35 percent in a poll published in April, while 42 percent believed it was going wrong, down from 46 percent in the prior poll.

Source : Reuters News

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