Tuesday 2 October 2012

Opinion poll: Feel-good factor fizzling out in Sabah

A significant drop has been detected in the confidence of Sabahans in prospects for the state, compared to 2009 when Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had just taken office.

NONEA survey by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research has found that 54 percent of the respondents feel that the Land Below the Wind is heading in the right direction.

This represented a marked 12 percent decline from a survey conducted in November 2009 which recorded 66 percent of respondents as being optimistic.

Najib took over as premier from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in April 2009.

Similar sentiments were observed across all major ethnic groups in Sabah, as well as the urban-rural divide, with Muslim bumiputeras leading the trend with 17 percent of drop from 79 to 62 percent.

The non-Muslim bumiputeras and Chinese registered a drop of 11 and six percent respectively. Out of 10 Chinese Sabahans, only three were optimistic about the state's future.

The trend was higher in urban areas where only half of the respondents agreed that the state is in the right direction, while six out of 10 in the rural areas felt the same.

NONEThe result come on the back of opposition's aggressive campaign in Sabah - deemed a BN ‘fixed deposit’ state - which saw several BN leaders including two lawmakers switching support to Pakatan Rakyat.

Among the top five reasons for the decline appears to be the perception that the state remains lagging in terms of economic development and infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, as well as cost of living pressures.

The survey also found that a number of respondents cited dissatisfaction with the political leadership as well as the illegal immigration problem.

Those who felt the state was headed in the right direction expressed continued satisfaction at the pace of economic development and the continuing peaceful conditions in the state.

The respondents were split on whether BN has fulfilled its promises, a claim that has been widely trumpeted by the BN, with 43 percent of respondents saying ‘yes’ while another 43 percent said ‘no’.

This trend was shared by all major ethnic groups.

The survey, jointly funded by Merdeka Centre and a regional consultancy firm, was carried out from Sept 6 to 17 to gauge perceptions of current developments in Sabah.

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

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