KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Many Malaysians have little faith in their country’s prime minister-in-waiting, a survey showed recently, less than two months before he is due to take power in a bid to revive the government’s popularity.
The independent Merdeka Center research firm said only 41 percent of 1,018 registered voters polled last month believe Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak would be a good leader. Thirty-six percent disagreed, while the others did not respond.
Datuk Seri Najib is slated to succeed leader Dato’ Seri Haji Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi in late March. Abdullah faced pressure to step down after the government lost control of five of Malaysia’s 13 states in elections last March amid public complaints about graft, racial disputes, and rising item prices.
Najib “comes in with very low approval ratings, which means he has to work much harder,” said the center’s director, Ibrahim Suffian.
The nationwide survey conducted by telephone had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
Najib’s aide, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to make public statements, indicated that Najib would outline clear policies after he takes office.
“At the moment, Datuk Seri Haji Abdullah is PM. We cannot have two PMs at one time,” the aide said in a response to the Merdeka Center’s survey.
Political drama has intensified in recent days amid jostling for control over a key state. The opposition, which holds a slim majority in the northern Perak state legislature, is mulling state elections because some representatives might defect to the ruling coalition.
[Source : Associated Press ]