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Sakmongkol ak 47

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Beyond the PM’s approval ratings.

PM Dato Sri Najib is enjoying a 65% approval rating. This was established by way of a poll undertaken by the Merdeka centre for opinion research. The sample size taken was 1060 people. We may assume it is a cross section of the voters in Malaysia.

Not sure whether the people interviewed were people in other states or just the Klang Valley inhabitants. If the survey was undertaken in Pekan, the approval rating could be around 90 over per cent. Hence any outcome and conclusions derivable from such sampling would depend on the location of the population sample. We take it; this was done by professionals befitting a reputable establishment like Merdeka centre. I am sure the sample includes the cafe latte lovers, the bak ku teh crowd, the teh tarik people. It should be reflective of One Malaysia.

When DS Najib was about to take over, his approval rating was in the 40% region. It rose slightly in May and now it is 65%. The rate of increase, 65/42, is phenomenal. In this latest poll, 22% were dissatisfied with his performance while 13% don't care.

The interesting points about the poll to me were the different responses among ethnic groups.

  1. Malay 74%
  2. Chinese 48%
  3. Indians 74%.

The economic profile of the above groups as many of us know are as follows:-

  1. Among the 3 races, the Chinese are the best off in terms of economics.
  2. The Malays and Indians occupy the less better off in terms of economics.
  3. The average Chinese is richer than the average Malay and Indian.

It stands to reason then; DS Najib enjoys wide and popular support from the less well off. The poorer Malays and Indians are more supportive. The obvious policy option then is to better keep the average Malaysian less well off. Doing that however is suicidal. So DS Najib has to go beyond the statistics.

Studying the Chinese response.

It is instructive to explain why the preference among Chinese is less enthusiastic. Has it got anything to do with better economic performance that allows them to acquire a higher political consciousness?

What the above survey shows and perhaps this observation can be used as a generalisation, is this. The Chinese, because of better economic performance enjoys greater freedom of choice. That freedom of choice is associated with a particular economic practice which is free market competitive economic system. The Chinese therefore enjoys real democracy in the sense that their economic independence allows them to exercise a choice which a truer reflection of their thinking.

On the other side, Malay and Indian poll preferences are dictated by their economic standings. They appear to exercise less freedom of choice because they actually enjoy less democracy. Less choice is normally associated with political system that are more restrictive. When you look at the paternalistic politics of UMNO, we can immediately understand that paternalism breeds dependence. When you are dependent on others, you are likely to support him in an unthinking manner.

Suppose the average Malay and Indian like his Chinese brother is better off economically, would the results be as they are now or will he follow the preference choice of the Chinese interviewees?

It is highly improbable to think the PM wants to keep the Malays and Indians in political bondage by disallowing them to become better economic performers. Let us assume that like any other leaders; he wants all Malaysians to advance. Once he accepts this economic trajectory, he will then have to accept the reality that once any group achieves economic advancement, the members of the group can afford a wider freedom of choice. With freedom of choice comes the ability to become free from political bondage. The PM then faces the real possibility that the average Malay and Indian will be less inhibited.

Unless the PM does something to secure their confidence and accordingly their allegiance, economic achievers will be less 'loyal' to him.

The emerging realities faced by the PM therefore are:-

  1. All groups will advance economically.
  2. Economic freedom is associated only with one particular economic system- free market and open competition.
  3. The outcome of economic freedom will be greater political freedom.

The policy implications.

Imagine yourself as the leader of UMNO. The future Malays are all going to advance economically and will unavoidably advocate greater political freedom exercisable through the exercise of flexible choices.

How will UMNO position itself in such a scenario?

One thing that is certain, the UMNO leadership at all levels can no longer apply brute force to convince others. Economically independent groups think and behave differently from oppressed and dependent masses. UMNO leaders will have to operate with different values and beliefs system. Among the notable features will be strategies that appeal to reasoning, rule of law, transparencies, performance, efficiency, honesty and so forth. Browbeating others into acceptance will only invite resistance.


de minimis 9 July 2009 at 02:51  

Very insightful, bro. You have given us much food for thought.

Suci Dalam Debu 9 July 2009 at 09:49  


A sample size of only 1060?

Any pollster worth his salt should know that 1060 out of a population of more than 20 million is not worth reading into.

I wonder who is so desperate in doing the spinning.

I would be more than happy to accept the results if it is done properly.

Seri Pagi,  9 July 2009 at 09:54  

Dato' senang saja, Chinese takkan sokong Melayu ataupun kaum lain. Akan sokong bila orang2 mereka saja yg ada di atas.

Saya terpaksa beritahu ini, bukan kerana apa, ini kenyataan, kerana rasanya sekarang ramai suka suasana yg terus terang. Kalau mereka tak suka kita terang2. Kita pun tau terang2 apa yg ada dalam fikiran mereka. Ini saya dapati melalui pergaulan saya dengan mereka sejak saya disekolah rendah, menengah dan hingga alam pekerjaan.

Dalam pengalaman hidup saya, ada yg jujur berkawan dengan kita dan menghormati ugama kita. Itu saya dapati semasa di sekolah rendah. Bila menengah lain sikit suasana dan di alam pekerjaan, lagilah berbeza, tidak sepertimana yang saya boleh jumpa di alam sekolah rendah. Walaupun ada yg baik sebagai kawan, mereka tetap jealous pada Melayu yg mencapai kejayaan. Ada yg berani berkata, to them Cina adalah lebih pandai dari Melayu. Itu fikiran mereka. Even duduk di negeri kita, mereka berasa begitu. Bukan salah Melayu kalau mereka berfikir begini.

Yang lain nya, bila berekonomi tinggi, mereka tidak pedulikan politik, termasuk juga ahli perniagaan Bumiputra, melainkan Bumi yang mendapat projek2 melalui politik, yang kena lah junjung tinggi.

Kita sebenarnya ketandusan ciri2 manusia yg berjuang utk Melayu dan orang ramai. Seorang yg pure dalam hatinya, jujur dan ikhlas, sebagaimana icon2 dunia. Inilah yg kita tiada.

Selain dari itu, mereka2 yg berkuasa adalah orang2 biasa yg tak punya magic. Jadi org2 sebegini akan sentiasa melakukan kesalahan dari semasa ke semasa. Dan kita membaiki kesalahana dan impovisasi dari semasa ke semasa.

Pendapat saya Najib adalah lebih baik dari Anwar atau yang lainnya.

Setakat ini, walau apa pun kekurangan yg UMNO ada, tiada ada parti mana pun yang berpengalaman dan boleh memegang tampuk pemerintahan negara.

Pengalaman yg ada di beberapa buah negeri sebagai sample rujukan.

Inilah dunia Dato' tidak boleh kita memuaskan hati setiap org, cuma kita boleh berusaha memperbaiki segala kesilapan yg ada. Dan manusia itu setiap bangsa punya kekurangan2. Dan kita perlu berbaik2 dan tolong menolong antara satu sama lain dan bukan menjatuhkan.

kuldeep 9 July 2009 at 09:55  

I guess its about diminishing returns...

from a lower base..a little absolute improvement provides the greater impact.But when one have enough shoes..the next pair does not add to the fact not being able to buy over a shoe factory is cause for frustration.

Its always easier to feed a hungry man...but if they remain hungry too long they can turn angry.By the way KLCI does not feed this ppl..neither liberalisation etc.

And 70% hungry population is a fearsome mob.Possibly,this silent majority is still waiting for PM to address their needs.

walla 9 July 2009 at 15:52  

Six forks of combustibly hot rojak down and it's a hot afternoon with nothing on tv and only Studwell's Asian Godfathers to mop, or, write? So many choices.

Write: Maybe the Chinese group still don't trust Najib's govt. Perhaps they're saying Umno being up there for umpteen years, three months "ain't gonna" (pre-empting 2012) carry much change even if words have been rolled out for the first time that showed Umno is finally recognizing that, behold, there are actually other types of malaysians around. So, close to fifty percent. The magic of the independent crowd. The overhang of the label 'politician'.

The Indians nod their heads three-quarters. That's understandable. Down and out for so long the smallest morsel would taste sweet, so they're giving encouragement for him and his group to do more; after all, it's just a survey.

Now it is the Malay group which puzzles. If in the whole of the three months, Najib et al have been doing mostly soothing the non-Malays, then by the logic of the Selamats and those who know who they really are of Umnoland, the Malays should be showing their dismay, say, to the tune of one quarter. Yet they hit three times that and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their Indian brothers.

So, why? Reaction to slumberjack? Show of majesterial strength as leader of some caliber? Say things coherent for once? Stimulation of stimulus packages? 1Malaysia, perhaps? Or, even, demahathirification of malaysia?

Then a small light from the Sky penetrates the crack and casts a ray of hope that lights the room and shoos away the mosquito about to bury its proboscis on the baby.

Maybe the Malays in the majority all along do not think and do as what some of the more vociferate Malays of the past have been trying to rake up - that us-versus-the-rest syndrome that has divided this nation. Maybe they realize unjust and unfair policies and treatment are just unjust and unfair policies and treatment regardless of economic considerations. Maybe they think and feel by best principles, just as the secular world tries to work by best practices.

Maybe they have found in their pains and sorrows that are also equally felt by a considerable proportion of the others the same solidification of hearts and souls:

But this hypothesis is hard to prove now. It can only be proven on D-day. That's still some time to go.

Malaysians should romance one another across the racial divide....which minister should one scold this time for not even thinking like this?

(he looks familiar, doesn't he? And it's for someone who thinks of Penang hill, microbiologist turned banker) mop, where art thou?

Anonymous,  9 July 2009 at 16:10  

Many2 moons ago...a particular survey in a small town not too far from Seremban indicated that 70% of the ladies there lost their virginity before 17 and had at least 70 sex partners before 23.

Puzzling statistics indeed..until someone realised that a very lazy "data collector" sampling was in a Pusat Pemulihan Akhlak center.

Anonymous,  13 July 2009 at 19:56  

Sample size more than 500 will lead to type II error. False findings. Although millions of population no., the most appropriate sample size would be 30 to 500. The only generalization can be made.

Anonymous,  13 July 2009 at 23:23  

The sample size is appropriate. Sampling is done using a random number generator and a LAND LINE is then dialed. Distribution by race and locality is also reflective of the country's profile.

However the study has a very large hypocrisy factor. Large percentage don't know what najib had contributed and yet large percentage of respondent said he did well.

Conclusion ? The MSM had done a great job in giving najib an extreme make-over. The perception without any substance or basis can only be from the art of mind manipulation through the mass media.

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