April 21, 2010
Most Malays still want Malay-centeric Affirmative Action Policy
By Boo Su-Lyn
After the independent pollster’s recent survey revealed that close to 70 per cent of Malay voters in peninsular Malaysia agreed with Malay nationalist movement PERKASA’s demand to stop dismantling Bumiputera quotas, many Malay liberals questioned if the results were accurate.
In response, Ibrahim replied that the survey sample represents the Malay population which is traditional, Malay-centric and supportive of affirmative action.
“For now, it (Malay liberals) is a minority,” said Ibrahim in a telephone interview. He added that although Malay leaders on the Internet are critical and tend to be anti-establishment, most Malays feel that they are lacking in economic empowerment and access to economic opportunities.
“They supported a particular idea that PERKASA was championing at that time,” said Ibrahim, referring to PERKASA’s clarion call for the government to support Malay affirmative action.
“They agree with the idea, but don’t necessarily agree with Perkasa as a group,” Ibrahim told The Malaysian Insider, when informed that many news reports on the mentioned survey appeared to show that the majority of Malays supported PERKASA.
The survey was conducted by telephone on 883 registered voters in West Malaysia between March 11 and March 27. Ibrahim said that the survey respondents were distributed equally across rural and urban populations, gender, age and state of residence.
That coupled together with a tiny margin of error of under 3.5 per cent showed that the survey was an accurate representation of the Malaysian population despite its small sample size, Ibrahim pointed out.
Merdeka Centre was started in 2001 by Ibrahim and Hazman Hamid, but the organisation only gained public interest in 2004 when it conducted surveys on Malaysians’ health conditions and work-life balance. Since then, most of their surveys are focused on political and socio-economic issues.
Some of the major surveys that they have conducted recently include one on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s first 100 days in office, a 2008 voter opinion poll, a Perak voter opinion poll, and a media independence survey.
Merdeka Centre surveys have been quoted extensively in various print and online publications over the past few years since 2004, lending it credibility.“We try to make it as broad-based as possible,” explained Ibrahim in reference to the relevance of small survey samples to the Malaysian population at large.
*Ibrahim Suffian is from a finance and marketing background while the rest of his team comprises people from diverse backgrounds, such as economics, public relations, statistics, and political science.