The Malaysian Insider
December 24, 2013
Support for the Barisan Nasional administration will drop further if it fails to deal with the rising cost of living experienced by Malaysians, another study has found today.
At the same time, the study by the Universiti Malaya’s Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMCEDEL) showed that 61% of respondents disagreed with the Government’s plan to introduce a goods and services tax in 2015.
The study showed that only 20% of those polled agreed with the initiative.
UMCEDEL director Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Redzuan Othman said that the rise in electricty and petrol prices had a severe impact on those polled and that 52% of them felt that the Government’s BR1M (1Malaysia People’s Aid) handouts were inadequate to deal with rising prices.
Of the 1,676 respondents in the peninsula, about 42% were concerned with the rise in petrol prices, while 34% said they felt the effect of the rise in the price of goods and 24% felt the the hike in electricity tariffs would impact on them.
The survey was conducted between December 6 and 8.
Last week, a Merdeka Center survey found 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 voters in the peninsula said that they also did not understand the impact of the GST on their lives.
Additionally, 54% of respondents reported that they did not believe in statements by government leaders about the country’s economic situation.
The people had also lost faith in schemes, such as BR1M, to mitigate the higher cost of living and its role in increasing support for BN, the survey showed.
It added that 47% of rural dwellers said that BR1M had no bearing on their support for BN while 46% of respondents admitted that the handouts did not change their party support.
Redzuan said: “After BR1M’s first handout, BN support was at 49%. But by the time the fourth BR1M handout came along, BN support went down to 42%.
“The wow factor is gone by the time the subsequent handouts were given to the people.”
The introduction of the GST was also unpopular among a large segment of the public. The Government was faulted for its poor handling of GST information, said political analyst Shaharuddin Badaruddin from UiTM, who was also present at UMCEDEL today.
“The opposition’s message on the GST has been more successful than the Government’s own message. Even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s explanation failed to shift people’s perception.
“The Government has failed to explain that the GST would not alter the price of goods and services. It now has to prove that prices would, in fact, be lower after GST to convince the public of its adoption.” – December 23, 2013.