KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — The majority of Malaysians remain unconvinced by the new government’s policies to stop corporations from monopolising business, according to the latest poll by local think tank Emir Research.
The Government Satisfaction Index (GSI) found that 32 per cent of the 1,950 people polled were unsure about the effectiveness of anti-monopoly policies of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government while 29 per cent said they were dissatisfied — suggesting high public scepticism in ending cronyism, which was said to be prevalent under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.
More than a third of respondents were also unconvinced by how the current government has handled the monopoly of rice, a key issue PH pledged to address as part of its GE14 manifesto, while another 29 per cent said they were dissatisfied.
The index by the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia-linked think tank uses scientific methods to rate public satisfaction over key policies through qualitative research and quantitative analysis, which its founders said gives unprecedented accurate measure of perception and ultimately predict voting outcome.
Researchers used PH’s election manifesto as the base for assessment and assigned the 10 primary pledges under four key clusters for respondents to rate. The clusters are the economy, health and transport, agriculture, and affordable housing.
“Implementing the promises and pledges contained in an election manifesto, as we will see later, has an effect on the level of satisfaction of the ‘rakyat’ towards the government,” the report explained.
PH’s anti-monopoly policies were among seven key factors respondents felt were responsible for the rising cost of living.
Only 40 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with how the new government handles the monopoly by big companies while just 36 per cent approved PH’s policies on supply and monopoly on rice.
Respondents were also less convinced by Putrajaya’s effort to manage the ringgit and targeted petrol subsidy, which to them had direct influence on living cost.
36 per cent of them found the government’s action for the ringgit to be unsatisfactory while 31 per cent said they were unsure. Only 33 per cent approved. For petrol subsidy, only 36 per cent said they were satisfied.
But most respondents were found to be fairly satisfied with how this government has dealt with healthcare costs, stabilise prices basic goods, and manage the supply of goods.
All three items saw majority of respondents gave their approval, although the scores were more uneven when broken into age, ethnic and income groups.
For example, the majority of respondents earning above RM5,000 were dissatisfied with health care and basic goods’ cost management, monopoly and currency policies, while those earning RM3,000 were far more approving.
Younger respondents were also found to be more approving of the new government’s healthcare and transport policies.
Nearly half of those aged 40 and below were satisfied with PH’s healthcare spending while more than a third commended the coalition’s efforts to promote public transport.
In contrast, respondents aged 40 and above were equally divided with those older than 51 found to be less approving.
On affordable homes, less than 40 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied by the government’s housing policy.
Only 38 per cent said they approved PH’s affordable home plans, and 37 per cent said they were satisfied by efforts to make loans accessible and expand home-rental scheme.
Meanwhile respondents were divided along domiciles when it comes to agricultural policy.
Those in the urban areas were more approving with 41 per cent saying they were satisfied by efforts to beef up food security, while only 27 per cent of rural constituents were satisfied.
Most of the latter respondents also gave PH’s minimum wage policy the thumbs down, close to half, while 37 per cent of their urban counterparts approved. The overall numbers, however, indicate a general dissatisfaction.
Emir Research president and chief executive officer Datuk Rais Hussin, who is also Bersatu head of the party’s Policy and Strategy Bureau, said the GSI’s findings sent a clear-cut message that voters look to PH’s election manifesto, and the coalition’s ability to meet them as a performance barometer.
“It’s definitely the barometer,” he said at the GSI’s press briefing here.
The think tank said the tabulation of data from GSI showed a strong relationship between how respondents score and how they are likely to vote — the more voters feel the manifesto are met, the more likely they will continue to vote PH.
At present the GSI score stood at 0.53, an average rating. The index scores 1 as maximum satisfaction and zero as minimum.