A survey of voters in Gombak by Invoke, the outfit led by former PKR MP Rafizi Ramli, appears to confirm that the constituency remains a stronghold of Mohamed Azmin Ali, while also showing Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin trumping Anwar Ibrahim and Najib Razak in preference for the prime minister’s position.
The survey in Gombak was part of a wider poll involving six constituencies including one DAP and four PKR seats.
The DAP constituency is Seremban held by former transport minister Loke Siew Fook, while the four others are seats held by PKR leaders loyal to Anwar.
They are Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin (Hang Tuah Jaya), Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir (Johor Baru), Chang Lih Kang (Tanjong Malim) and Tan Yee Kew (Wangsa Maju).
The survey, commissioned by news portal Malay Mail, was conducted over a period of one month between Aug 26 and Oct 2 last year, to gauge support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government which came to power after the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.
One finding of the survey was that three-term Gombak MP Azmin is highly recognised by voters, with 50% of them able to name him when asked who their elected representative was.
In comparison, only 29% of Loke’s constituents in Seremban recognised him, while in Johor Baru, a mere 13% of voters polled recognised Akmal.
The survey said Azmin’s recognition in Gombak was a factor in his chances of retaining the seat at the next election.
“Whether this impact will be positive or negative for his chances is up for debate,” the survey said, as quoted by Malay Mail.
The Malay-majority Gombak seat was an Umno stronghold before Azmin wrested it in 2008.
In 2018, he won the seat with a 48,721-vote majority, defeating Barisan Nasional and PAS.
Top PKR leaders have in recent times made Gombak a key seat to be won at the next polls, in what party sources say is a move to punish Azmin for leading several MPs out of the party, triggering the collapse of the PH government in a move to thwart Anwar’s prime ministerial ambitions.
Anwar, who has fallen out with Azmin, was named by PH to replace Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister before the coalition government collapsed in February last year.
Meanwhile, the Invoke survey in Gombak found Muhyiddin far ahead in terms of popularity as prime minister with 46%, compared to Anwar (8%) and Najib (3%). Significantly, some 7% preferred a “younger candidate” for the top post.
Details of findings with regards to the five other constituencies have not been reported.
Invoke is a data analytics company founded by Rafizi, who previously crossed swords with Azmin in a bitter tussle for the PKR deputy president’s post.