Youth satisfaction over Pakatan win plunges after 100 days, says pollster

Azril Annuar
Pakatan Harapan supporters wave PH flags at Padang Timur, Petaling Jaya May 10, 2018. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

PETALING JAYA, Aug 30 — The euphoria among Malaysian youth aged 21 to 30 years old has taken a dip after the 100th day of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition coming to power, an analyst with an independent pollster has revealed.

Merdeka Center research assistant Ehsan Shahwahid observed that one of the major reasons behind the drop was due to political realities setting in, coupled with the challenges faced by the new administration.

“It was obvious after the week of the election that the spike of euphoria was very high. We don’t know how much it has dipped because we haven’t conducted a study yet, but based on a general observation, yes, there is a dip that we can say based on comments on social media and discussions.

“At first, there was an emotional high but after reality set in, the youth faced a reality check. The Pakatan Harapan government had new challenges to face,” said Ehsan who presented his findings at a forum titled “Youth: Can they change Malaysia politics?”

Based on his study, the youth had an extremely high level of satisfaction within the first three weeks of the 14th general election.

At that time, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had yet to announce his full Cabinet but had already taken steps to keep PH’s election manifesto promises, including the abolishment, or at that point in time, the zero-rating of the unpopular Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“There was a very high level of youth satisfaction and confidence in the government during the first 100 days when some of the manifesto promises were being implemented. Right now, quite difficult for PH to say that the level of confidence is as high as it was a few weeks post-GE14.

“Currently, more of the government’s policies are being criticised. We haven’t conducted a full study yet, but this is based on postings on social media,” said Ehsan.

Touching on whether or not the dip will finally begin to plateau and stabilise, Ehsan said Merdeka Center needs to conduct a further study.

The group had conducted a standard survey throughout the nation with 2,209 total respondents who are voters across the board. Out of that number, 558 voters were aged between 21 and 30 years old.

The poll also found that the two main concerns among this age group were economic matters and corruption.

Other panellists in the forum included student activist Izzah Dejavu from political advocacy group Malaysia Muda; Qyira Yusri from the Undi 18 initiative; and academic Haris Zuan from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

This came following another presentation of research on youth perception of the PH administration by think-tank Iman Research earlier today, that found a majority of young Malaysians to be suspicious of the very coalition they had voted into power during the May 9 general election.

A majority of those in the discussions, aged between 21 and 35, said they were cautious about the return of “Mahathirism” and felt the 93-year-old remained very powerful even as PH pledged reforms to curtail the prime minister’s influence.

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