| December 19, 2013
There are claims that the popularity survey carried out by Merdeka Center was done on bad faith
GEORGE TOWN: A political critic has slammed Merdeka Center’s latest findings that revealed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s popularity had nosedived as “bias, convoluted and warped distortions of the truth.”
Huan Cheng Guan claimed that the independent pollster’s low approval rating on Najib was not a surprise since it had an uncanny knack of distorting survey results.
He said Malaysia was facing challenging times and the federal government was doing its best to nip the problem in the bud, and counter lies and damaging propaganda of Pakatan Rakyat.
Yet, he said instead of assessing how Najib’s policies had positives outcomes, Merdeka Center has done it again to poison the minds of Malaysians via lies, distortions and convoluted facts.
“The centre collected data through unreliable research methods to suit a hidden agenda.
“Its latest survey to gauge Najib’s rating for December is no exception,” rebuked Huan, the president of newly registered Centre for Political Awareness Malaysia (CPAM).
Latest Merdeka Center’s findings showed Najib’s popularity had hit new low of 52%, mainly due to the country’s budget deficit and recent spate of price hikes, subsidy cuts and introduction of strong fiscal measures.
In the survey, Najib’s popularity was hardest hit among the Indians, for whom his approval fell from 76% to 57% now.
Unsurprisingly Najib’s approval among the Chinese community was 21%, while popularity rating among Malays was 66%, down from previous 73%.
Huan claimed that for Merdeka Center to have any credibility, its survey must have foolproof methodology, including a representative sample size chosen through a suitable sampling method.
For a population of 27 million, he said a sample size of 1008 respondents, in which 60% were Malays, 31% Chinese and nine percent Indians was certainly unrepresentative of the country’s population composition and size.
Timing of survey questionable
He also questioned the timing of the survey, which was carried out just when Najib’s administration had hiked up petrol prices, abolished sugar subsidy, introduced goods and services tax (GST), announced imminent hike in electricity tariff and highway toll.
He said one need not be a rocket scientist to know that Najib’s government was sure to face public backlash due to unpopular fiscal measures.
He said the fact remained that the Prime Minister was not one to dish out populist policies but would do the necessary for the good of the nation.
He chided the centre for using data collected during public outcry and compare it with Najib’s popularity in May 2009, when Najib had just taken over from predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
He also rebuked the sampling method for not disclosing age, gender, class, education and political affiliations of respondents as a deliberate sampling of anti-PM Malaysians.
“Does this not smack of deliberate biasness to elicit the type of results they want to collect to portray the Prime Minister in bad light?
“Isn’t Merdeka Center research bias from the starting point?” asked Huan in a statement here today.
He also claimed that the survey results showed a direct link between handouts and protests with Najib’s approval ratings.
“The greater the handout, the higher his rating. The more protests held, the lower is rating.
“It is a total waste of time researching something that even an uneducated person can predict, said Huan.
He called on the Merdeka Center to instead conduct a study on how BR1M had alleviated the economic burden of Malaysians and which ethnic group benefited most.
He said such studies would be meaningful and invaluable especially if accompanied by constructive proposals to overcome problems.
Meanwhile, he demanded Merdeka Center to reveal the identity of its funders to protect its credibility and integrity.