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Thursday August 13, 2009

‘BN will perform better if elections are called now’

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional will perform better if a general election is called now, as compared to the March 8 polls last year, said a Merdeka Centre director.

The political polling research company’s director and co-founder Ibrahim Suffian said this was in line with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s improvement in approval ratings, which went from 39% on the day he took office to 65% after 100 days.

He said when Najib assumed premiership, the level of expectations was very low but the latter had shown that he could set a direction for the nation.

“He has improved his approval ratings but whether he can translate it into support for the next general election remains to be seen.

“Right now, the public are relieved that they have a Prime Minister who knows what they want. What is important now is that he fulfils his promises in the next two to three years,” he said.

Ibrahim said the young generation of voters had “no affinity to political parties” and would cast their ballot according to current issues.

“If an election is held now, Barisan will do better, but not significantly,” he said at a panel discussion during the launch of The Edge new media editor Oon Yeoh’s book “Najib’s first 100 days: No Honeymoon”.

Other panelists were Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) spokersperson Wong Chin Huat, Centre for Indepen-dent Journalism executive director V. Gayathry, Selangor Mentri Besar’s research officer Tricia Yeoh, Singapore Management University associate professor Bridget Welsh, Malay Mail editor Ahirudin Atan and Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi.

Senator Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, who admitted to being no admirer of Najib, launched the book.

As Najib had yet to be tested in a general election since taking office, Wong urged him to call for polls now but DAP’s Ooi said Pakatan Rakyat was not prepared.

“Should Najib call for general election now, (it does the Opposition no favours as) Pakatan is in a state of disarray,” he said, adding that if Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was convicted of sodomy, the coalition would be without a Prime Minister-designate.

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