By Clara Chooi
KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Malaysians have grown more confident and trusting of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today, crediting his administration’s transformation policies for the renewed support.
The prime minister, who is about to lead BN into his maiden general election in a few months, said his reading was based on the public’s response to him during his visits across the country.
“I am encouraged by the response,” Najib (picture) wrote during a live Internet chat session on NST Live this afternoon.
“I believe the level of trust and confidence in the government has increased because we have proven that through our national transformation policy, we can deliver what the rakyat wants for the country.”
Najib was responding to a comment from netizen Mohamad Affian Nordin who had asked the prime minister to explain why he appears to be “obviously optimistic” that BN and Umno would win in the coming 13th general election.
Later, another netizen called “anak sarawak” asked for Najib’s take on talks that it would be tough for BN to recapture its urban support, especially voters from the Chinese community.
The prime minister responded by saying that continuous engagement with urban voters, including the Chinese, was necessary.
He said these voters must understand that their futures would be better under BN’s leadership as the ruling pact could ensure a more prosperous society for them.
“The major difference is that the degree of certainty with respect to our ability to deliver is much greater,” he admitted.
Najib also offered his guarantee to young voters that a BN government could fulfil their aspirations for advancement opportunities and better quality of life.
“Tomorrow will be much better than today. We have proven that we can deliver,” he said.
Najib has been seen to be dithering on a date for elections, following reports that his support from the Chinese and Indian communities has been on a slide.
Independent pollster Merdeka Center recently found that Najib’s approval rating had seen a marked decline among Indian and Chinese voters just weeks after a tumultuous Bersih 3.0 rally.
The poll, carried out between May 10 and 18, found that 72 per cent out of Indian voters were satisfied with Najib as prime minister — an eight-point drop from February this year.
It also found that Chinese support from the PM had dropped 19 points from a 56 per cent in February. Only 37 per cent from this segment polled now supported Najib.
Malay voter support for Najib, however, experienced a five-point increase, from 74 per cent in February to 79 per cent in May this year.
A total of 1,019 registered voters — 59 per cent Malay, 32 per cent Chinese and 9 per cent Indian —were polled three weeks after the April 28 Bersih rally that took place here.
Both the BN and PR have gone through great pains to shore up non-Malay voter support ahead of an expected election, which must be called before the middle of next year.
The survey findings, however, suggest that BN’s support, especially among the Indian community — traditionally pro-BN — is slipping way.
Najib’s apparent confidence today can been matched by his arch-nemesis Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s optimism that his fledgling Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact would trounce BN in Putrajaya with a “comfortable majority” win in the coming polls.
During a recent dinner function, Anwar had predicted a minimum 10- to 15-seat margin between PR and BN in the 222-seat Parliament.