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KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — Over half the respondents from an Emir Research survey said they would vote for an Umno-PAS pairing in a hypothetical early general election, according to the results released yesterday.
In its quarterly report released yesterday, the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia-linked think tank said 52 per cent of respondents backed Umno and PAS while 30 per cent chose Pakatan Harapan (PH) and 18 per cent were undecided.
This contrasted strongly with the firm’s poll last year that showed PH to still enjoy popular support, particularly among urban voters.
“The results were near opposite in the previous poll — Pakatan Harapan was greatly supported within the middle — and higher-income groups of respondents. Only the lower income earners have shown very marginal support to Umno and PAS in the previous round of polling.
“In the current poll though, lower-income earners’ support for Umno and PAS was twice as high at that for Pakatan Harapan,” said the report.
Emir Research is led by Datuk Rais Hussin, the Bersatu Supreme Council member, who was recently appointed as Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chairman after pledging support to party president Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin.
The poll said that in contrast to the previous polling results, both urban and rural dwellers now supported Umno and PAS whereas those in urban areas previously leaned towards PH.
It said urban respondents were now twice as likely to support Umno and PAS over PH.
In rural areas, support for PH grew marginally but this gain was eclipsed by what Umno and PAS achieved.
The report said that while Chinese (61 per cent) and Indian (47 per cent) voters still preferred PH, there has been a massive swing towards the two Malay-based parties.
“Overall, there has been a great shift of voters’ support from Pakatan Harapan towards Umno and PAS over the period from the last quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020.
“This trend is maintained across different demographic categories such as income, qualification, age and domicile.
“Only ethnically-coloured support has largely remained the same — favouring Pakatan Harapan by Chinese and Indian groups and backing the Umno and PAS by Malay and Bumiputera respondents,” said the report.
The poll also found that 45 per cent of Malaysians polled agree that an Umno-PAS coalition could best preserve the rights of the Malays and the position of Islam, with 43 per cent saying the two could resolve political divisions in the community.
Over one in three also said all Malay parties should merge.
“Among the ethnic groups, understandably, the Malays/Bumiputeras were the most receptive to the idea of Umno-PAS coalition and the need for all Malay parties to be united compared to the other ethnic groups.
“The Chinese and Indians were more unsure than either being agreeable or disagreeable with the idea of Umno-PAS coalition and the unity of Malay parties. A third of the Chinese (33 per cent) and Indians (34 per cent) agreed that a Umno-PAS coalition resolves disunity among the Malays.”
Emir Research said the survey included 2,002 voters across all 222 Parliamentary constituencies, and was aimed at gauging the public’s wellbeing in terms of their perceptions, expectations, and worries.
The survey was conducted between January 15 to February 25, 2020.