Deficit-cutting measures take toll on Najib’s popularity, survey shows

By Zurairi AR | December 18, 2013
The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — A series of painful measures to trim Malaysia’s chronic budget deficit has hit Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s popularity hard, according to a survey by independent pollster Merdeka Center that showed his approval sliding to a new low of 52 per cent in December.

Conducted from June to September and supplemented by an updated poll this month, the survey took place during a time when Putrajaya rolled out a fuel price hike, confirmed the long-delayed Goods and Services Tax (GST), eliminated price support for sugar, and announced an increase to power tariffs next year — all of which have angered Malaysians already struggling with rising cost of living.

News is also swirling now of extensive toll rate increases next year.

Sixty-seven per cent of respondent cited worsening costs and inflation as their main grouses.

In the survey, Najib also lost popularity across all ethnic communities, but was hardest hit among the Indians, for whom his approval fell from 76 per cent to 57 per cent now.

The PM’s approval also slid further among the Chinese community, coming in at 21 per cent after a loss of 15 percentage points.

More from Malay community also joined in the disapproval, with Najib getting the nod from 66 per cent of the group, down from 73 per cent previously.

Malaysia embarked on a series of subsidy cuts in September, starting with raising the pump price of RON95 petrol and diesel by RM0.20/L starting September 3, to RM2.10 and RM2.00 per litre respectively.

Postponed prior to Election 2013, the so-called subsidy rationalisation programmed was resumed after ratings firm Fitch slashed Malaysia’s sovereign debt outlook from “Stable” to “Negative” in July.

In Budget 2014, Putrajaya finally confirmed the 2015 rollout of the GST and said it would stop subsidising sugar by the current 34 sen per kg, in a move that may cause cascading price hikes.

Starting next year, the electricity tariff in the peninsula will also increase by 14.9 per cent or 4.99 sen to 38.53 sen for every kilowatt per hour (kWh), and 5 sen for Sabah and Labuan.


  1. #1 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 - 6:02 pm

    Still got 52%, NOT BAD leh, considering popular votes <50%!

  2. #2 by john on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 - 9:18 pm

    In the first place, he has no popularity as he wears a facade. He is just a schemer, of no principle in all areas. Through Bumno, he hooked the ‘PM’ post, more to safeguard himself from Altantuya C4 case. Now after G13, those being hookwinked realized too late already.
    From day one , he is what he is the kind of
    ” a non-character, a fake ” and only fools just believe otherwise.

  3. #3 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 - 9:31 pm

    Najib’s popularity plunged; Rosmah’s popularity surged.

    Latest award in Dubai: Global Inspirational Leadership. Someone said the chairperson is a Nigerian.

    I have no further comment.

  4. #4 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 19 December 2013 - 8:32 am

    Najib & Co is basically betting that in 4 years time that basically the people will not remember as much or economy “turn around”. Its simply a very old way of thinking..

    Firstly, historically such lows in popularity do not get turned around easily – it requires drastic measures. Without anything dramatic, it does not get better for him.

    Secondly, UMNO’s popularity itself is likely EVEN lower. The key votes to watch is still the Felda votes. Commodity prices have been falling and palm oil is actually behind the curve. If it falls more dramatically, there is not enough money for them to spend their way out of trouble. The senseless listing of Felda is now quite evident.

  5. #5 by Cinapek on Thursday, 19 December 2013 - 11:44 am

    Well, the next polls is five years away. What better time to increase the price of just about anything that affects the rakyat’s daily life. It does not matter even if the rakyat is unhappy now.

    Then when GE 14 comes round, Najib and BN will have a sufficient cushion to go around cutting prices and giving handouts and thus appear to have the rakyat’s interest at heart.

    He is practising what in hostage taking crisis is known as the “Stockholm Syndrome”. Belive me, come GE14 many desperate people will fall for this trick.

  6. #6 by Thor on Thursday, 19 December 2013 - 1:13 pm

    Got another four years to plan and sky rock the price of everything to more that 100 percent high until the final few months to call for next GE comes, just reduce some prices down to 5 percent and everybody is happy by then.
    See how most malaysian are easily satisfied.

  7. #7 by good coolie on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 12:50 am

    Next elections, they would not bother to throw RM500 at us. They will just throw us a few bones. We will gobble them up and vote BN.

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