PETALING JAYA: If a nationwide survey is anything to go by, Malaysians want former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin to be their prime minister.
A surprising finding is that the top Umno man on the list is neither Prime Minister Najib Razak nor Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi. It is Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who stands at number eight. Najib is at number nine while Zahid takes 14th position in the survey.
In fact, the DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng are ahead of Zahid.
At a press conference to announce the survey results, PPBM supreme council member Rais Hussin said survey respondents were asked to state their stand on a list of potential prime ministerial candidates.
The survey polled 3,000 people in 30 parliamentary constituencies in Barisan Nasional (BN) and opposition-held states, as well as Sabah and Sarawak. The survey, conducted late last year, was commissioned by a group which has now joined PPBM.
When presented with Muhyiddin, 37.3% said they were agreeable while 25.1% said they were opposed. The rest were unsure.
A total of 35.9% would be fine with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad becoming prime minister again. PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, meanwhile, came in third, with 34.3% saying he should be prime minister.
The next two candidates whom respondents were agreeable to being prime minister were former Kedah menteri besar Mukhriz Mahathir and former PAS Youth chief Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Aziz.
This was followed by jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
However, it must be noted that more people were opposed to Anwar and Hishammuddin being prime minister than those who were agreeable to it.
As for Najib, 52% said they were opposed to him being prime minister, 27.9% said they were unsure and only 20% said they were agreeable.
Only 15.2% of respondents said they were agreeable to Zahid becoming prime minister while 46% did not want him as the prime minister.
Above Zahid on the list are Khairy (8), PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Ismail (10), Guan Eng (11), PKR’s Azmin Ali (12) and Kit Siang (13).
Although Khairy is ranked higher than Najib and Zahid, most of the respondents said they were “unsure” when it came to him. Only 23.3% agreed he should be prime minister, with 23.8% opposed.
The survey also found that 43.6% of respondents were agreeable to Umno having a new president.
“Not one BN leader is in the list of top five candidates for PM and it is clear that Najib is far behind other leaders, being in ninth place,” said Rais.
He noted, however, that the majority of respondents said they were “unsure” when it came to political issues, leaders and leadership.
While BN and PAS’ candidates for prime minister are clear, the same cannot be said for Pakatan Harapan, which comprises PPBM, PKR, DAP and Amanah.
Previously, Mahathir had said Muhyiddin would likely become prime minister if the opposition managed to wrest Putrajaya from BN. However, PKR insists that Anwar, who is currently serving a five-year jail sentence for sodomy, is the PM-designate.
Rais added that PPBM would be conducting another survey next month, this time focusing only on Peninsular Malaysia.