People divided about some of Pakatan Harapan's actions


KUALA LUMPUR: A nationwide telephone survey by Kajidata Research since June has revealed that Malaysians generally remain confident about the new government.

However, they were divided about some of the actions taken to fulfil the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto, or “Buku Ha-rapan”.

Despite their differing views, the majority of respondents viewed the abolition of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the reintroduction of the fuel subsidy and the deferment of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation study loan repayments for those earning less than RM4,000 per month as priorities and felt that the rest could come later.

The majority (83 per cent) of the 1,040 respondents welcomed the change of the government following the 14th General Election, but almost equal numbers stated that they were confident (33 per cent), not confident (33 per cent) and not sure (34 per cent) that the 10 promises would be realised within the 100-day deadline.

While they were aware of the government’s initial decision to scrap the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL), Mass Rapid Transit Line 3 (MRT3) and the Kuala-Lumpur High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, Malaysians also appeared divided on the matter.

An equal numbers of respondents (36 per cent) were for and against scrapping ECRL, with almost similar numbers agreeing (34 per cent) that MRT3 should be continued, while another group (33 per cent) felt it should be stopped.

Kajidata Research adviser Professor Datuk Seri Dr Syed Arabi Idid said if the breakdown based on the states was considered, it was obvious that those in the east coast favoured ECRL and those in the Klang Valley favoured MRT3, as these modes of transport were beneficial to people in the two regions.

However, there was a stark difference in their stand on HSR, with most (43 per cent) wanting it terminated, and only 28 per cent wanted it to proceed.

The majority of respondents (53 per cent), mostly in Sabah and Sarawak, wanted the Pan-Borneo Highway to continue, while only a smaller number (18 per cent) wanted it to be discontinued.

On whether the new government would continue protecting the rights and privileges of Bumiputeras and the position of Islam, a significant number (49 per cent) said they were unsure and a small number (13 per cent) believed both were at stake.

Syed Arabi said most respondents from the east coast states ruled by Pas, namely Kelantan and Terengganu, were the ones who felt insecure about the position of Islam and Malays in the country under PH rule.

The study tested the respondents’ confidence in the first six ministers appointed by the PH government, with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at the top of the list (72 per cent), followed by Datuk Seri Azmin Ali (68 per cent), Dr Maszlee Malik (67 per cent), Lim Guan Eng (60 per cent), Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (58 per cent) and Mohamad Sabu (54 per cent).

He said it was no surprise that Muhyiddin was ahead as he was in the previous Barisan Nasional government, while Azmin, too, had proven his worth while he was Selangor menteri besar.

Maszlee’s rating was high as the study was conducted before the promise of the Unified Examination Certificate recognition for Chinese independent schools became a contentious issue.

Slightly more than half (53 per cent) of the respondents were satisfied with the government reopening investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd and another half (50 per cent) were satisfied that the government had revealed the country’s actual debt, which amounted to more than RM1 trillion.

“These reflect the transparency promised by PH,” Syed Arabi said.

The study found that 95 per cent of respondents were aware that GST had been zero-rated, with 78 per cent supporting the government’s decision to do away with the tax.

Syed Arabi said a sizeable number of respondents replied that they were unsure about several questions as they remained cautious because PH was an untested coalition.

On PH’s part, he said, fulfilling its promises within 100 days was a challenge as there were many issues that it had not anticipated before the general election, like the huge national debt.

Now, he added, the government had to do a lot of rethinking on the promises made.

“After 100 days, after the honeymoon period is over, people are going to be more critical of the government.”

Syed Arabi said Kajidata would continue to monitor the people’s perception of the government after the 100 days.

Kajidata Research specialises in commercial and social intelligence, providing insights beyond data and enabling actionable insights.

The respondents come from different age groups, as well as ethnicity, income and education levels.

They were selected via the stratified random sampling method. — Bernama © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd