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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Malaysians unsure of 1MDB scandal, Bersatu survey shows

A Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) survey has found that most Malaysians are unsure of what to make of various aspects of the 1MDB scandal.
Despite this, only 15 percent of the respondents believed that the RM2.6 billion transferred into Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s bank account came from a donor, as claimed by the prime minister and the attorney-general.
In contrast, 51.2 percent of respondents did not believe the claim, while 33.8 percent were unsure.
Najib had consistently denied wrongdoing in the 1MDB affair. Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali had the money was a political donation from an Arab donor, and most of it had been returned.
The face-to-face survey of 3,000 respondents was conducted in July and August last year, covering a representative sample of 30 parliamentary constituencies throughout Malaysia.
It was preceded by a series of focus group discussions and preliminary studies that started in April that year.
The study was commissioned by some of Bersatu’s founding members before the party was formally registered in September, and has since been taken over by the party’s policy and strategy bureau.
The findings were presented by the bureau’s chief, Rais Hussin, at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today. He said nine university professors had been recruited for this study.
GST resonates more than 1MDB
The survey also found that 50.8 percent of respondents felt that 1MDB's debts would ultimately be borne by the people, compared to 11.0 percent who believed otherwise, and 38.1 percent who were unsure.
However, opinions are split when respondents were asked other questions regarding 1MDB, with most of the respondents saying that they are unsure.
These include questions on whether Mahathir was right in criticising the prime minister over 1MDB (49.9 percent), whether 1MDB's investments have disappeared (43.0 percent), and whether the foreign media was "spinning" the 1MDB issue (50.9 percent).
The respondents were far more certain on other socioeconomic issues, such as whether GST is a burden to the people. Only 22 percent of respondents were uncertain, compared to 75.2 percent who agreed and 22.9 percent who disagreed.
 Over 85 percent of respondents had expressed concern over a range of economic issues, with the rising cost of living (94.4 percent) being the top concern, followed by rising costs of housing (92.4 percent), and insufficient income (89.9 percent).

Rais said it is normal for Malaysians to be more reserved in expressing political opinion compared to opinions on other issues, and this is consistent with the findings of other surveys.
He said Bersatu is looking to follow up on its "Apa Rakyat Mahu?" (What Do People Want?) survey with a second survey this month, and hopes to release the findings in the month following Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Rais said the findings of the surveys would be used to help Bersatu craft its election messages, and prepare its political candidates and party machinery, among others.- Mkini

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