KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — A recent survey found that most Malaysians think the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has done a good job pushing forward Islamic policies in the country.
However, fewer Malaysians credit PAS — a PN component party — with this empowering of Islam.
In a survey conducted by Invoke and commissioned by Malay Mail, 45 per cent of respondents polled in February agree that PN has stepped up the implementation of Islamic policies but only 38 per cent think that PAS played a role.
The survey also found that only 51 per cent of Malay respondents believe PAS helped improve the implementation of these pro-Islamic policies compared to 59 per cent who credited the PN administration as a whole.
“This places PAS in an awkward situation. If fewer and fewer voters feel that the party is contributing to government performance – let alone fulfilling its raison d’etre of Islamising the country – it could prove less influential in the event of a general election.
“Indeed, it may convince Umno in particular that there is no risk to jettisoning PAS and the Muafakat Nasional (MN) arrangement, as a party’s ‘Islamic’ credentials do not necessarily appear tied to the country’s oldest Islamic party,’’ said the survey.
The Invoke survey, titled “Uncharted Territory”, polled 7,860 registered voters between December 18, 2020 and February, 21, 2021.
The survey was commissioned with two overall objectives: to gauge voter sentiment six months after the formation of the unelected PN government and to measure resentment over the “subversion of the people’s mandate.’’
While PN as a whole fared better as a defender of the faith compared to PAS among the Malays polled in February 2021, its popularity as a whole has fallen since last December.
“This would imply that more Malay voters are beginning to perceive PN’s ‘Malay Muslim unity’ planks as mere rhetoric, yet another blow to the government’s legitimacy amongst its core demographic.
“In fact the total number of voters who feel that the PN government has empowered Islam is now less than half (45 per cent), with just 11 per cent of Chinese voters and 13 per cent of Indian voters certain that Islam has been empowered by PN.
“This suggests that non-Malay voters in general may not fall hook, line and sinker for race rhetoric from PH, as they have yet to be convinced that PN will act in accordance with their pro-Islamic talking points,’’ said the survey.