Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Najib’s popularity does not reflect support for BN, says Pakatan
By Clara Chooi and Lisa J. Ariffin Mar 12, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers have said they are undaunted by the rise in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s approval ratings, and have argued it does not necessarily mean stronger support for Barisan Nasional (BN) or the ruling Umno.
They attributed the prime minister’s increased popularity, which was particularly significant among those in the lower-income bracket, to his administration’s RM500 cash handouts to the same group under the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) scheme rolled out recently.
But this, said Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, would eventually lose steam once the scheme’s recipients exhaust every single ringgit and if Najib chooses to further delay calling the 13th general election.
Pua noted this finding, adding that PR takes “comfort” in the notion that Najib’s rising popularity may not mean the ruling coalition will perform better in the polls.
Pua said opposition leaders could counter the surge in Najib’s popularity by explaining to voters that BR1M was merely a one-off “vote-buying exercise”.
An exercise, he added, that will return to haunt voters in the form of higher taxes and prices after elections.
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