A new independent survey done on the Selangor registered voters shows that the opposition would still be able to reel in the votes come election time and form the next state government, if the present trend of voters stay the same, even with the new redelineation.
However, as changes happen quickly in politics, come election time, BN may just get to take in more votes than stated in the survey.
“Even if the present survey shows that 29 percent votes are for BN, come election time, they can push the votes up to 15 percent more. As for the opposition, if they were to push the votes up by 5 percent more, that would be already a lot,” says head of think-tank Institut Darul Ehsan, Professor Datuk Dr Mohammad Redzuan Othman.
Redzuan, also Universiti Selangor Vice Chancellor and formerly of Universiti Malaya’s Centre of Democracy and Elections (UMCedel) in the unveiling of a survey to track the trend of votes of the Slinger registered voters, reminds that the ones winning the popular vote, if not translated into the majority of number of parliamentary seats, would not be able to take over Putrajaya.
“A 35 percent popular vote would ensure a win for BN to form the Federal Government,” says Redzuan.
He also pointed out that of the 20 biggest parliamentary constituencies, only three were won by BN and 17 won by the opposition, but the majority of the smaller constituencies were won by BN, giving BN majority of seats to form the Federal Government.
(In the 2013 General Election, BN won 133 of the 222 parliamentary seats and formed the government, despite the opposition winning 50.9 percent of the popular vote.)
The survey also shows that a two corner fight between PKR and Barisan Nasional can enable the former to gain 63 percent of the votes, but again, he states that come election time, other factors such as gerrymandering can come into play and BN may just win more votes.
“If there is an explosion of issues which may change the situation of the country, there will also be changes to the survey results,” says Redzuan.
In presenting the survey, Redzuan hopes that political parties take into account the result of the survey which showed that voters, rural or city, educated or not, are very much on smartphones with the highest percentage of 75 percent on Whatsapp, while 68 percent are on Facebook.
The survey also stated that the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional has a solid support from those who vote for it and despite of cracks within BN, the support does not seem to weaken.
However, the opposition must be aware that the fighting between themselves adversely affects the votes it gets and that this is shown when support seem to lessen to 39 percent only when Pakatan Rakyat broke up.
The survey also showed that Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) of ex-Umno leaders, as an opposition party is much more known to the public, as compared to the PAS breakaway party Parti Amanah Nasional (Amanah).
He also commented on the current redelineation exercise by the Election Commission (EC) and says that while the EC is supposed to be neutral, the delineation of the parliamentary constituencies shows some weird shapes which make us wonder what the EC is up to.
The survey also showed that de-facto opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is still popular despite being in jail and that former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad remains popular among Selangorians after Anwar.
Respondents also pointed out that the most popular to replace the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein, while Deputy PM Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin trail close behind.
From the very beginning, Redzuan insisted that the survey is a professionally done one according to international survey practices and that its results is not for the sake of pleasing anyone, be they the ruling coalition or the opposition parties.
He also said that the survey uses a high-tech app which is installed in tablets used by trained enumerators, which allows much better tracking, monitoring and mapping, to the extent that it can even produce results in real time if needed.
The survey has a cummulative total of 31,341 respondents from all over Selangor of only registered voters and a 3 percent margin error with 99 percent level of confidence.
Redzuan, who was sacked from UMcedel for having predicted the popularity of the opposition in a survey in 2013, says that the survey results should be made full use by political parties if they want to win the general elections.
Zakiah Koya@The Heat Malaysia Online