Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Muhyiddin Yassin is the most trusted leader in the country ahead of the 15th general election (GE15), followed closely by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, a new survey by Universiti Utara Malaysia has found.
The survey, conducted among 2,716 respondents from Sept 6 to Nov 5, found that Muhyiddin was chosen by 20%, followed by Anwar (19.2%).
Muhyiddin came to power in March 2021, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the implementation of several measures to contain the virus including a lockdown and the release of billions of ringgit to the public.
He served at the top office for some 17 months, before he was dislodged in August 2021 after coming under pressure from a group of Umno leaders aligned with their president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former prime minister Najib Razak.
Meanwhile, the survey found that current prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was chosen by just 9.5% – less than Gerakan Tanah Air chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad (10.2%) and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang (10.3%)
Former prime minister Najib Razak, who is currently serving a 12-year sentence in jail, got 11.3%.
Nearly 37% of respondents chose political party as the most important factor in casting their votes, while 34.3% indicated election manifesto and 28.8% chose candidate.
However, when asked which party was the best suited to rule Malaysia at this point, the majority of participants chose Umno (32.7%) followed by PKR (26.1%) and Bersatu (15%).
PAS was chosen by 17.9% while DAP was picked by 6.9%, behind Amanah with 8.7%.
On their perception of the country's political scenario, 34.7% described the situation as "not stable" while 21.7% said it was hard to tell.
Some 16.12% said it was "complex" while 16.1% said it was "confusing".
In terms of young leaders for the country's future, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin came in first (24.9%), followed by PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli (15.7%) and Muda president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (15.2%).
When asked what issues should be prioritised by political parties at the upcoming election, 45.1% said the cost of living and 37.2% said the economy.
Only 5.3% chose job opportunities for the youth while 4.4% indicated sports and recreation.
Just over 49% said more women should be fielded as candidates at the Nov 19 polls while 29.7% did not agree and 21.1% said they were unsure.
Of the total number of respondents polled, 2,344 were Malays, 122 Chinese and 77 Indians. The rest comprised other Bumiputeras (134) and others (39).
Just over 52% said interracial ties between Malaysians were "good" while 31.6% said they were not good and 16.1% said they were unsure.