More Malays now see PAS as being a bigger defender of Malays and Muslims than Umno, according to a survey conducted by research firm Ilham Centre.
“Nearly 30 percent of Malay-Muslims picked PAS as the main protector of Malay and Islam issues compared with only 27 percent for Umno,” Ilham Centre executive director Mohd Yusri Ibrahim told a forum last night, as reported by The Malaysian Insight.
The survey, which polled 2,614 Malay-Muslims from October to December last year, showed PKR in third place at 17 percent, followed by Bersatu (four percent) and Amanah (three percent).
In a similar survey conducted in August last year, Yusri said 34 percent of Malay-Muslims picked Umno as the defender of Malays and Muslims, compared to 29 percent who picked PAS.
“This was before Umno lawmakers started leaving the party,” Yusri said.
Umno MPs have been leaving the party in droves since the 14th general election, and the party currently has 37 lawmakers - a drop from 54 Umno MPs elected in GE14.
The preliminary report of the survey, conducted in collaboration with the Penang Institute, also showed that Malays are generally conservative.
“Some are bent towards Malay nationalism while others are more on Islamic nationalism,” Yusri said.
However, he added, the Malays are still receptive to democratic ideas.
The survey revealed that 86.7 percent of those polled agreed Malays are the rightful owners of the country.
At the same time, 83.5 percent also said Malaysia belonged to all the citizens.
Also, 72.3 percent agreed that the Chinese and Indians should not ask for equal rights as long as they maintained education in their mother tongue while 79.5 percent also agreed that all Malaysians should be treated fairly.
The survey also showed that Malay-Muslims were not too accepting of Pakatan Harapan’s Islamic narrative.
“The current government has to portray a more centre-right image and not a progressive one as it can be mistaken for being liberal. Pakatan cannot go the conservative right either as it is already occupied by PAS and Umno.
“Although Malay nationalism is higher now, we expect Muslim nationalism to rise in the future,” Yusri said.
Fellow panellist Faisal Hazis (photo, above) said it would take time for the country to change.
“You can’t hope to move to the New Malaysia after 61 years of Old Malaysia,” Faisal said.
The other panellists in the forum were Penang Institute’s Wong Chin Huat and Liyana Khairuddin.
The session was moderated by Mohd Izzuddin Ramli and the full report of the survey is expected to be released next month.