KUALA LUMPUR: PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali today shrugged off a dip in approval ratings for Pakatan Harapan (PH), saying this would not have any bearing on the upcoming by-election in Tanjung Piai.
He said the election on Nov 16 would focus on local issues.
“The by-election is a separate issue. It is (about) very local issues, and we have to deal with it,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here.
Pollster Merdeka Center recently said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s approval rating had plunged to 46% from 71% last August.
It said only 39% of voters in a nationwide poll gave PH positive ratings.
Azmin said the survey was a guideline to gauge public sentiment on specific issues.
“But I strongly believe that overall, the people believe this is the right government and they will continue to support it,” he said.
In just over a year, he said, PH had managed to embark on major institutional reforms including putting the economy back on track.
“We have restored the confidence of investors to come back to Malaysia and continue to invest,” he said.
However, opposition leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Barisan Nasional’s (BN) chances in Tanjung Piai were good as the coalition had won several by-elections already despite the higher ratings enjoyed by PH.
He said during the by-elections in Cameron Highlands, Semenyih and Rantau, support for PH was still about 50%.
He acknowledged though that it was still too early to jump to conclusions.
He also said BN had yet to shortlist its candidate for the election.
“We have not decided from which party, either,” he said, adding that a decision would be made after a survey of voters.
The Tanjung Piai seat fell vacant on Sept 21 with the death of Mohamed Farid Rafik, a PPBM member and a deputy minister.
Farid won the seat last year with 47.29% of 44,948 votes. BN got 46.12% and PAS, 6.59%.
The constituency has 53,528 registered voters, 56% of whom are Malay, 42% Chinese and 1% Indian.