Sunday, January 27, 2008

PM of Malaysia loses support of Indian community

Malaysia: PM Loses Support Of Indian Community
News Elections 2008 2008-01-26 12:27

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Indians' support for Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi fell by more than 40 percentage points in two months, making the community, which was staunchly pro-government in the past, now the least fond of the Premier.

According to a survey, only 38% of Indians now approve of Datuk Seri Abdullah's performance, down from 79% in October last year.

The Chinese approval rating is only marginally higher, at 42%, while 76% of Malays supported the Prime Minister.

The survey was conducted in mid-December by Merdeka Centre, which tracks voter sentiment.

This was shortly after thousands of Indians took to the streets to protest against the government's policies, which they claimed discriminated against the community.

The demonstrators were dispersed with water cannon and teargas and their leaders had been detained under the Internal Security Act.

About 1,000 registered voters were interviewed at random through a telephone survey. The findings were released Friday (25 Jan).

Merdeka Centre has been tracking voter sentiment since November 2004, when Datuk Seri Abdullah's approval rating was at its highest at 91%.

His approval rating slipped to 61% last month, the lowest in three years, according to the findings of the independent poll.

In an earlier poll done in October, his rating was 71%.

His second-lowest rating, at 63%, was recorded in late September 2006 after former premier Mahathir Mohamad unleashed a barrage of criticism against the Abdullah administration.

"This poll is part of the series of surveys that we carry out from time to time in order to measure voter sentiment," Merdeka Centre director Ibrahim Suffian said in a statement.

The findings may be indicative of the people's support for the ruling coalition in the next general election, expected to be held in March.

Barisan Nasional won by a landslide in 2004, clinching more than 90% of the parliamentary seats. Datuk Seri Abdullah on Tuesday (22 Jan) said the coalition was unlikely to repeat the 'exceptional' results in the upcoming polls. (By CHOW KUM HOR/ The Straits Times/ ANN)

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