In survey, Malays divided over support for Guan Eng, Tommy Thomas

Ida Lim


A survey showed that Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (pic) and Attorney-General Tommy Thomas are currently proving to be highly-divisive choices for the Malay community in terms of approval for their performance. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Attorney-General Tommy Thomas are currently proving to be highly-divisive choices for the Malay community in terms of approval for their performance, a survey has shown as Pakatan Harapan nears its 100th day in power.

In independent pollster Merdeka Center’s latest survey, Malay voters were almost equally split when asked if they were satisfied with the performance of the two non-Malays.

Of the Malay respondents polled, 44 per cent were satisfied with Lim’s performance as finance minister, while another 42 per cent were dissatisfied.

For Thomas, 37 per cent of Malay voters polled were satisfied with his performance as attorney-general, while 38 per cent were dissatisfied.

The survey was on voters’ satisfaction of the performance of seven key ministers and the Attorney-General, with Thomas’s ethnicity and status as a non-Muslim becoming a point of contention among certain segments of the Malay community who had opposed his appointment.

Shortly after his May 21 swearing-in as finance minister, Lim had declared that he considers himself a Malaysian and wanted to be chosen to the post for his capability instead of his ethnicity as a Chinese. His issuing of the finance ministry’s press statement in three languages (Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin) in one instance had caused controversy among some Malays who zeroed in only on the Mandarin statement.

Among Malay respondents polled, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was most popular with 71 per cent satisfied with her performance and was almost neck-to-neck with Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (70 per cent) and Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (68 per cent), followed by Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad (60 per cent), Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu (55 per cent), Education Minister Maszlee Malik (54 per cent).

Aside from Lim and Thomas, Malay respondents were quite disapproving of Mohamad (30 per cent dissatisfied) and Maszlee (26 per cent), followed by Dr Wan Azizah (19 per cent), Muhyiddin and Azmin both at 17 per cent and Dzulkefly at 14 per cent.

Lim and Thomas were the two least popular in the survey among Malay respondents.

But on the flip side, Lim and Thomas are among the top three in terms of approval ratings among non-Malays.

The non-Malay respondents in the survey were most approving of Lim’s performance with 84 per cent saying they were satisfied, followed by Dr Wan Azizah (79 per cent), Thomas (67 per cent), Mohamad (62 per cent), Azmin (60 per cent), Muhyiddin (49 per cent), Dzulkefly (42 per cent) and Maszlee (41 per cent).

The non-Malay respondents tended to be more disapproving of Maszlee with 33 per cent saying they were dissatisfied with his performance, followed by Muhyiddin (21 per cent), Dr Wan Azizah (13 per cent), Dzulkefly (12 per cent), Mohamad and Azmin at both 11 per cent, Lim at nine per cent and Thomas at seven per cent.

Popularity ranking among Malaysians

As for their popularity among Malaysians as a whole, Dr Wan Azizah is the most popular with 75 per cent saying they were satisfied with her performance as minister.

This was followed by Azmin (64 per cent of Malaysian respondents), Muhyiddin (62 per cent), Lim (60 per cent), Mohamad (58 per cent), Dzulkefly (53 per cent), Maszlee (50 per cent) and Thomas (49 per cent).

Taken as a whole, higher dissatisfaction was recorded for Lim and Maszlee both at 28 per cent, Thomas (25 per cent), Mohamad (22 per cent), while others with lesser overall dissatisfaction are Muhyiddin (18 per cent), Dr Wan Azizah (16 per cent), Azmin (15 per cent), and Dzulkefly (13 per cent).

The survey was carried out among 1,160 voters during the August 7- August 14 period, with the respondents’ composition reflecting the actual registered voters’ composition in Malaysia.

Out of the 1,160 respondents, 52 per cent are Malay, 29 per cent are Chinese, seven per cent are Indians, while the Bumiputera community from Sabah and Sarawak polled amounted to 12 per cent (six per cent Muslim, six per cent non-Muslim).

This Friday will mark the first 100 days of PH as federal government. Excluding Dr Wan Azizah, who is both deputy prime minister and a minister, there are currently 26 ministers in the Cabinet.