Dr Mahathir approval ratings at highest in 10 months

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 22): The approval rating for Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad rose to the highest since September, the Malaysian Insight news website reported, citing pollster Merdeka Center.

Support for the premier, 94, rebounded from an all-time low in March to reach 62%, the report said, citing a survey by Merdeka Center from June 28 to July 1. The approval rating for the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition held steady at 41% in June, the Malaysian Insight said.

There is a widening rift among the senior leadership of the People’s Justice Party, a member of the Pakatan Harapan alliance. The party’s leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has called on his deputy, Minister of Economy Affairs Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, to resign if sex videos allegedly featuring him are proven to be true. Police on Thursday said they couldn’t confirm if it was.

The divisions stem from competition for the role of successor to Dr Mahathir, with the People’s Justice Party split into two sides — one backing Anwar and one backing Azmin — according to a ranking official within the coalition who asked not to be identified. Dr Mahathir has consistently said he will keep his promise to hand over power to Anwar, while refraining from setting a date for the transition.