By Yow Hong Chieh
The media spotlight on PKR’s fractious party election appears to have had little effect on public opinion, according to the latest poll of voters in peninsular Malaysia.
The results of the poll suggests that Malaysians are undecided if media reports accurately reflected the party’s woes.
Thirty-four per cent of those surveyed by the independent Merdeka Center earlier this month believed unfavourable reports were a true reflection of the opposition party’s troubles.
But another 34 per cent of voters surveyed said the reports were exaggerated. The remaining 32 per cent said they were not sure.
Malays were the most evenly split, with 37 per cent believing the reports accurate compared to 36 per cent who said news of PKR’s “internal conflicts” had been played up.
Indians were more likely to believe the reports overemphasised the party’s problems.
Fourty-six per cent of the Indians surveyed said the reports were exaggerations versus 32 per cent who thought otherwise.
In contrast, the Chinese were the least likely to believe stories of PKR’s woes were being sensationalised.
Only 26 per cent said they thought the stories overblown, while 31 per cent said the stories were accurate.
The Chinese, however, were also the most ambivalent, with 43 per cent unsure if the reports were truthful or not.
The poll was conducted in the first two weeks of this month following PKR’s first ever direct election, which was marred by low voter turnout, allegations of fraud and the acrimonious exit of then-Federal Territories PKR chief Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.
Deputy presidential contender Zaid quit PKR claiming the party had failed to uphold democratic principles.
This month’s poll mirrors the results of a mid-term survey on Pakatan Rakyat (PR) performance in Selangor, where PKR controls nine out of 22 parliamentary seats, the most of any party.
The mid-term survey suggested that PR will be able to defend Selangor in the next general election.
The PR government there scored the highest with the Indian community, followed by Malays and then the Chinese.
Selangor Mentri Besar and former Selangor PKR chief Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, however, scored the lowest among Malays, with 38 per cent saying they were not confident in his leadership, compared to 14 and 17 per cent of the Chinese and Indians, respectively.