On Saturday, Aug 18, the Pakatan Harapan government would have been in power for 100 days.
A nationwide telephone survey carried out by Kajidata Research since June revealed that Malaysians generally remain confident about the new government.
However, they are divided in their views of some of the actions taken to fulfill the promises stated in Harapan's manifesto.
Priorities in place
Despite their differing views, the majority of the respondents view the abolition of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the reintroduction of the fuel subsidy, and the deferment of the PTPTN repayments for those earning below RM4,000 per month as priority and feel the rest can come later.
The majority (83 percent) of the 1,040 respondents welcome the change of the ruling party following the 14th general election but almost equal numbers stated that they are confident (33 percent), not confident (33 percent) and not sure (34 percent) that the 10 election manifesto promises will be realised within the 100-day deadline.
Split opinions on rail, MRT3 and highway projects
While they are aware of the PH government’s initial decision to scrap the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), MRT3 and the High-Speed Rail (HSR) to Singapore, Malaysians also appear divided on the matter.
Equal numbers of respondents (36 percent) are for and against the termination of the ECRL, with almost similar numbers agreeing (34 percent) that MRT3 should be continued while another group (33 percent) felt it should be stopped.
Kajidata Research advisor Prof Datuk Seri Dr Syed Arabi Idid highlighted that if the breakdown based on the states was considered, it was obvious that those in the east coast favoured the ECRL and those in the Klang Valley were for the MRT3 as these modes of transport are beneficial to the respective communities in the two regions.
However, there was a stark difference in their stand on HSR with most (43 percent) wanting it terminated while only 28 percent wanting it to proceed.
The majority of the respondents (53 percent), mostly in Sabah and Sarawak, wanted the Pan Borneo Highway to continue while only a smaller number (18 percent) wanted it to be discontinued.
Bumiputra, Malay rights and position of Islam
On whether the new government will continue protecting the rights and privileges of Bumiputeras and the position of Islam, a significant number (49 percent) say they are unsure and a small number (13 percent) believe both are at stake.
Syed Arabi noted that most respondents from the east coast states ruled by PAS, namely Kelantan and Terengganu, were the ones who felt insecure over the position of Islam and Malays in the country under Harapan's rule.
Confidence in ministers
The study also tested the respondents’ confidence in the first set of six ministers appointed by the new government.
Muhyiddin Yassin came out tops (72 percent), followed by Mohamed Azmin Ali (68 percent), Dr Mazlee Malik (67 percent), Lim Guan Eng (60 percent), Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (58 per cent) and Mohamad Sabu (54 percent).
He said it was no surprise that Muhyiddin is ahead as he has been in the government before under Barisan Nasional while Azmin, too, has proven his worth as the former Selangor Menteri Besar.
Dr Mazlee’s rating was high then as the study was conducted before the promise of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) recognition for Chinese independent schools became a contentious issue, he added.
Nation's debt and taxes
Slightly more than half (53 percent) of the respondents are also satisfied with the new government reopening investigations over 1MDB.
As for the government's revelation of the country's RM1 trillion debt, 50 percent were satisfied with the decision to keep the people in the know.
“These very much reflected the transparency promised by the PH,” said the former rector of the International Islamic University Malaysia.
The study also found out that 95 percent of the respondents were aware that the GST has been zero-rated with 78 percent supporting the PH government’s decision to do away with the tax.
Cautious about new government
Syed Arabi also noted that a sizeable number of respondents had replied that they were unsure about several questions as they remained cautious because Harapan is an untested coalition.
On the government's part, he said, fulfilling its promises within the 100 days is definitely a challenge as there were many issues that it had not anticipated before GE14 like the huge national debt and now it has to do lots of rethinking on the promises made.
“After 100 days, after the honeymoon period is over, people are going to be more critical of the Harapan government,” Syed Arabi said, adding that Kajidata would continue to monitor the people’s perception of the government after the 100 days.
Kajidata Research specialises in Commercial and Social intelligence, providing insights beyond data and enabling actionable insights.
The respondents come from various ages, ethnicities, income groups, and education levels, all selected through the stratified random sampling method.