Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's approval rating has taken the lowest dip since assuming office in 2009, declining to 52% in December, from 62% in August, a Merdeka Center survey has found.
Two months after replacing Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as prime minister, Najib had a 65% approval rating.
The pollster said the survey was conducted between December 4 and 12, 2013, after the reduction of fuel subsidies in September 2013, and the tabling of the 2014 national budget during which the government announced the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2015.
The survey also showed that Najib’s drop in popularity cuts across all races, with the most significant decline being among the Indians, with a drop from 76% to 57%.
Among the Chinese, the approval rate stands at 21%, after a 15 percentage point loss, while a seven percentage point drop, from 73% to 66%, was recorded among the Malays.
Merdeka Center said in a statement that concerns over the economy, particularly rising costs and inflation, rose to its highest ever level, up to 67% of all respondents.
The survey found that 55% of Peninsular Malaysia voters said that they did not quite understand how GST will affect them.
Additionally, 54% of respondents reported that they did not believe in statements by government leaders about the country’s economic situation.
The number of those expressing “happiness” with the government has also declined to 38%, compared to 50% in August 2013, showing a significant reduction in positive attitude from across major ethnic groups.
Merdeka Center also released data from previously unreleased opinion surveys conducted in June 2013 and August 2013.
The latest survey, which coincided with the recent Umno general assembly, polled 1,005 registered voters comprising 60% Malays, 31% Chinese and 9% Indians through telephone interviews in the preferred language of the respondents.
They were selected randomly, representing Malaysians of different races and genders.
The June 2013 survey had 1006 respondents while 1008 were polled for the August 2013 survey. - December 18, 2013.