Dr M’s approval rating dips as PH prepares to mark one year in power

Dr Mahathir Mohamad enjoyed a 71% approval rating three months after taking over Putrajaya last year.

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s approval rating has taken a plunge from a high of 71% recorded during the first three months of Pakatan Harapan in power to 46%, according to Merdeka Center.

The independent polling firm’s survey also revealed that only 39% of Malaysians gave a positive rating to the PH government, which marks its one year in power next month since the historic May 9 polls.

Merdeka Center said perceptions over the economy, governance and concerns among the Malays as well as treatment of the races in Malaysia were among factors that could have contributed to the rating decline.

The latest survey also found that public satisfaction in the government’s management of the economy fell to 40% in March, from 60% recorded in August last year.

It said that out of the 1,204 voters interviewed between March 5-11, only 34% believe that the country was heading in the right direction, compared to 55% in August 2018.

“This sentiment was more acute among Malay voters where only 24% felt the country was headed in the right direction.”

About 67% of the respondents, however, agreed that the ruling coalition needed more time to fulfil its election pledges.

“This figure also includes a majority, 52% of Malay voters, who had largely been more critical of the new administration.”

Merdeka Center also found that the state of the economy topped voters’ concerns, followed by race-related issues, including the controversy over the relocation of a temple in Subang Jaya late last year, as well as the debate on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

There were mixed reactions on the new government’s policies and initiatives.

Some 69% disagreed with the plan to abolish the mandatory death penalty, 85% supported a new law against hate speech, while 55% were happy with plans to tax sweet beverages.