PETALING JAYA: Nearly three out of five Malay voters in Selangor want PAS to leave Pakatan Rakyat, while most Chinese and Indian voters want the coalition to remain intact, according to a joint survey by The Malaysian Insider and Merdeka Center.
The survey, conducted during the peak of the Selangor menteri besar (MB) crisis, found that Selangor voters were equally divided between those who wanted the Islamist party to leave or remain in the pact, while one out of six was undecided.
A breakdown of the 808 respondents’ ethnicity, however, showed that 58% of Malays wanted PAS to exit the ruling state coalition, but only 29% of Chinese voters and 19% of Indian voters felt the same.
“My belief is that those Malays are a combination of Barisan Nasional and PAS supporters who believe that they are disadvantaged by being with Pakatan,” Merdeka Center executive director Ibrahim Suffian told The Malaysian Insider.
However, the pollster said that PAS did not stand to gain by listening to the sentiments of the Selangor Malay electorate, adding that leaving Pakatan would only benefit their political rivals.
“In Selangor, PAS would lose out if it was to go it alone. Almost 50% of the electorate is non-Malay. Although PAS contests in Malay-dominant areas, it is still reliant on non-Malay votes,” he said.
The survey, which ran from Aug 11 to 17, had also found a clear ethnic divide when voters were asked if PAS should have supported Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim to remain as MB.
An overwhelming 81% of the Malays polled said PAS should have continued supporting Abdul Khalid despite PKR’s decision to remove him, as opposed to 21% of Chinese and 33% of Indians polled.
Asked what PAS should have done throughout the impasse, 40% of Malays in the survey said PAS should team up with Selangor Umno to support Abdul Khalid, while 31% of them said PAS should support Abdul Khalid even if Pakatan was to split over it.
Only 14% of the Malays agreed that PAS should relent and go along with PKR and DAP.
In contrast, 4% of Chinese and 8% of Indians voters said “yes” to an Umno-PAS alliance in Selangor to support Abdul Khalid, and 12% of Chinese and 8% of Indian voters agreed that PAS should support Abdul Khalid even if Pakatan was to break up.
But 55% and 53% of the Chinese and Indians respectively wanted PAS to go along with its allies’ decision to replace Abdul Khalid with PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Asked why the Malays wanted PAS to support Abdul Khalid, Ibrahim said one reason was because he was being replaced by a woman.
The survey revealed that only 34% of the Malay respondents felt the country was ready for a woman MB in general, as opposed to 83% of Chinese and Indians voters who responded positively to the idea. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 5, 2014.