Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Only half confident RCI will solve illegal immigrant woes

A public opinion poll has found that the setting up of the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to look into the illegal immigrant issue in Sabah has received overwhelming support in the state, with nine out of 10 Sabahans agreeing with the initiative.

HNONEowever, only half of the respondents believe that the RCI will be able to address the problem of illegal immigrants, which is the most important issue in Sabah requiring immediate attention from the government.

The survey was carried out by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research from Sept 6 to 17, to gauge voters’ perceptions of current developments in Sabah.

It also found that Sabah voters have mixed views as to the motive behind the establishment of the commission, with 46 percent deeming it “a genuine attempt to address the illegal immigrant problem”, and 36 percent agreeing that it is a “political move to reduce the anger of Sabahans before the election”.

NONEInterestingly, doubts about the RCI were stronger among Chinese voters, urban voters, those with Internet access and with household income higher than RM5,000.

Slightly more than half of the respondents (53 percent) selected illegal immigrants as the most important issue to be addressed by the state government, followed by concerns about the cost of living (38 percent), corruption (21 percent), jobs (13 percent) and poverty alleviation (10 percent).

Compared to the last survey in November 2009, the issue of illegal immigrants has been overtaken by the issue of poor infrastructure to become the most important topic.

Main areas of concern

According to the survey, issues that the Sabah voters wished to see discussed in the upcoming general election are those involving illegal immigrants, followed by welfare and impact of inflation on the cost of living.

azlanVoters also picked out unfavourable economic conditions, mediocre infrastructure and quality of national leadership as among their main worries.

A total of 829 registered voters, comprising 51 percent Muslim bumiputeras, 29 percent non-Muslim bumiputeras and 20 percent Chinese respondents, which was reflective of the electoral profile of Sabah, were interviewed by telephone.

Respondents were selected on the basis of random stratified sampling along age group, ethnicity, gender and state constituency.

The poll was jointly-funded by Merdeka Centre and a regional consultancy firm.

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