KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 ― Malaysians are split over the Bersih 4 rally, with most of those backing tomorrow’s protest comprising the non-Bumiputera who live in cities and use the Internet, Merdeka Center said today.
According to the independent pollster, the survey held between August 15 and 21 revealed that 47 per cent of respondents did not favour Bersih 4, compared to 43 per cent who felt otherwise about the overnight demonstration scheduled this weekend by polls reform group Bersih 2.0.
“In our opinion, the survey reveals a Peninsular Malaysia electorate that is polarised along ethnic and socio-economic lines,” said Merdeka Center in a statement that accompanied the report today.
“While the Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur is likely going to attract a high level of participation in terms of crowd size, as indicated by the overwhelming sale of merchandise and donations received by the organiser, the survey suggests that participants will likely be drawn from urban, Internet-savvy and non-Bumiputera voters,” the pollster added.
At 81 per cent, an overwhelming section of the ethnic Chinese polled supported Bersih 4, compared to 70 per cent of Malays who opposed the rally.
While 51 per cent of urban respondents supported Bersih 4, 57 per cent of those in rural areas opposed it.
More than half of those who opposed Bersih 4 said they were afraid of violence and chaos during the rally, followed by cynicism over Bersih 2.0 achieving its goals (22 per cent).
Some also opposed Bersih 4 for fear that the Malay community will be marginalised if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is forced to step down, at 4 per cent.
Meanwhile, the top reasons given by those who favoured Bersih 4 included the desire to see improvements in areas like the electoral process as well as in institutions like Parliament at 39 per cent, and to express unhappiness with Putrajaya (25 per cent).
Other reasons given were to express dissatisfaction with Najib’s performance as prime minister (13 per cent), and to express anger over the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (11 per cent).
Merdeka Center questioned 1,010 registered voters in Peninsular Malaysia randomly selected over phone for the survey.
The respondents comprised 60 per cent Malay, 31 per cent ethnic Chinese and 9 per cent ethnic Indian.
Bersih 2.0’s latest rally, dubbed Bersih 4, will take place this weekend in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching in Sarawak, Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, and several other cities worldwide.
The five demands of the rally are clean elections; clean government; right to dissent; strengthening parliamentary democracy and saving the economy.