Pakatan support rebounds, surges to 43%, survey shows

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THE Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) support in Selangor has rebounded to 43%, according to a recent survey, after taking a beating five months ago largely due to infighting in the opposition coalition.

Support for Barisan Nasional (BN), meanwhile, dropped by five percentage points from 25% last May, the survey conducted by Universiti Malaya's Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMcedel) showed.

The survey, which was carried out three days after the new Selangor menteri besar, Mohamed Azmin Ali, was sworn in, also found that 28% were unsure about both coalitions.

The results for PR were an improvement over UMcedel’s survey in May this year, which saw support for the coalition in the state plunge to 35% a year after winning Selangor in the 2013 general election.

But ominously for BN, its support base has not grown since the survey in May, which showed that only 20% to 25% of respondents supported the coalition.

“This shows that despite PR’s crisis, the rakyat is still with them. The voters’ response shows that they are still not confident that BN/Umno can be a better alternative, and that their anger towards BN has still not died down,” said a source in UMcedel.

UMcedel’s latest survey, conducted from September 26 to 28, also revealed that 48% of those polled said they wanted PAS to remain in PR while only 19% wanted the Islamist party to break away and another 22% were unsure.

The survey polled 1,165 respondents in all 22 Parliament constituencies in Selangor, covering all races. The survey was carried out by 36 enumerators and four supervisors from UMcedel within just two days.

The internal turmoil in PR began after PKR initiated its Kajang Move, which saw Kajang assemblyman, Liew Chin Cheh, stepping down to allow PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to contest the seat and become Selangor menteri besar.

However, PAS did not agree with the move as it wanted Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim to remain the menteri besar, causing the entire episode to drag on for nine months, during which time the ties between the three parties worsened.

Athough the Selangor impasse was finally over with the swearing-in of Azmin as menteri besar on September 23, the tension within PAS did not subside.

Things came to a head in the party when its president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, ordered those who wished to challenge his position to leave the party.

“Whoever wants to become an imam, you are better off looking for another piece of land, build your own mosque, and become an imam,” he had said during the PAS annual general assembly last month.

In the same speech, he had claimed that there were “brokers” and “stooges” in his party, in a reference to the two PAS Selangor assemblymen who had pledged support PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the new menteri besar ahead of the party’s decision on the matter.

Both Saari Sungib (Hulu Klang) and Hasnul Baharuddin (Morib) were suspended from the party for a year by the central committee a week ago.

Since the crisis began, two schools of thought have emerged in PAS: one which wishes for it to remain in PR, and another, led by the clerics, which wants it to leave the coalition.

However, UMcedel’s latest study showed that the people of Selangor still supported PR and wanted PAS to remain in the pact that was formed after the 2008 polls.