A survey conducted in 2006 involving 1,500 young Malaysians yields some disturbing findings. Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin wonders if the mindset has changed since then.
The survey, involving 1,500 respondents between the ages of 18 and 32, was funded by the Asia Foundation, and the findings were rather disturbing.
However, the survey was conducted in 2006, two years before the 12th general election which drastically altered the Malaysian political landscape.
Resurrecting the six-year-old survey, controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin asked if Malaysians had changed since then.
“Over 40% of the respondents would forgo elections in exchange for government-guaranteed peace, stability and economic growth [which means 'democracy' is not as important as peace, stability and economic growth],” he noted.
Apart from this, Raja Petra said the survey also revealed that about 61% of Malays considered themselves Muslim first, with only 28% identifying themselves first as Malaysians.
“Only 31% of Malays agreed that ‘all cultures and religions should be given equal rights’ compared with 61% of Chinese and 66% of Indian respondents,” he said, pointing out that this meant that 69% of Malays supported the concept of “Ketuanan Melayu”.
The survey, he said, also revealed that the Chinese put ethnicity first (47%), followed by nationality (44%) and religion (5%).
“Indians were the most nationalistic, with 75% identifying themselves first as Malaysians, followed by their ethnic group (14%) and religion (5%),” he added.
With regard to the connection between government and religion, Raja Petra said only 3% of Malays agreed that “government and religion should be kept separate” compared with 64% of Chinese and 47% of Indians.
“About 30% of Malays hoped Malaysia would become ‘more Islamic’ while that outcome was supported by 0% of Chinese and 4% of Indians.
“About 34% of Malays agreed that the ‘government should increase the implementation of Islam by introducing hudud for Muslims’ compared with only 2% of Chinese and 0% of Indian respondents,” he added.
‘Malays reject woman PM’
Another interesting finding was that a majority of Malays (53%) stated that they would not accept a woman as prime minister, compared with only 11% of Chinese and 6% of Indians.
Those who do not understand the method employed in opinion polls, Raja Petra said, would argue that 1,500 respondents do not reflect the opinion of 15 million registered voters or 28 million Malaysian citizens.
He said that those who do, however, would know that in a properly conducted poll, 1,500 respondents was all that was needed to obtain a plus-minus 5% accuracy result.
“And even if you increase the number of respondents to 15,000 or more, the accuracy would only improve by 1%-2%,” he added.
The bottom line, according to blogger, was the question of whether “we understand the psyche of the Malaysian voter, in particular the young or first-time voter”.
“Note that some within the age group of those polled back in 2006 were not yet registered voters or of the age where they could vote.
“This time around, however, many are able to vote and/or have registered to vote and will be voting in the coming general election, maybe three million or so,” he said.
So you think you know the voters