Aug 1, 08 2:00pm
Fifty-five percent of 1,030 Malaysians interviewed in Peninsular Malaysia early this month do not believe the sodomy allegations leveled against PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Only 11 percent believed in the allegations, while 26 percent said they did not know if the claims were true. Eight percent gave no response.
These were among the highlights of an opinion poll conducted over 10 days - from July 4 to 14 - by the independent Merdeka Center for Opinion Research to gauge voters’ perception of current issues, the state of the economy and leadership.
The survey, done by telephone, targeted Malaysians throughout the peninsula who were randomly selected and structured along the national electorate profile to achieve proportional balance in terms of gender, ethnicity and state.
Merdeka Centre estimated the survey's margin of error at plus or minus 3.1 percent.
The survey was concluded prior to the July 16 arrest of Anwar as well as the announcement of the PAS-Umno talks, Merdeka Center noted in its press release yesterday.
The center also found that two-thirds, or 66 percent, of the respondents believed that the accusations against Anwar Ibrahim were politically motivated.
Only 13 percent of respondents disagreed with the view that the accusations against Anwar were politically motivated, while 16 percent said they didn’t know. Five percent gave no response to the question.
A breakdown of the answers according to the ethnicity of the survey respondents found that non-Malays are more inclined not to believe in the sodomy allegations.
It found that 50 percent of Malays did not believe in the sodomy allegations against Anwar as opposed to the 11 percent who believed them. Thirty-one percent of the Malays did not know, while eight percent gave no response.
Public confidence low
However, 59 percent of the Chinese respondents in the survey said they disbelieved the sodomy claims as opposed to the 11 percent who did believe the claims. Twenty-four percent did not know what to believe, while six percent gave no response.
A relatively high proportion of the Indians surveyed, 75 percent, said they disbelieved the sodomy allegations.
On the other hand, a slightly higher proportion (13 percent) of Indians also said they believed in the allegations, eight percent did not know while four percent gave no response.
Compared to the overall majority of respondents who agreed that the sodomy allegations against Anwar were politically motivated, a slightly lower percentage (57 percent) of Malays agreed with the view while a slightly higher percentage (17 percent) disagreed.
A much higher percentage, 77 percent of Chinese respondents, meanwhile, agreed that the allegations were politically motivated while only six percent disagreed.
Of the Indians surveyed, 81 percent agreed that the allegations were politically motivated, while only 11 disagreed.
The survey also found that public confidence towards the judiciary, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the police as institutions likely to be involved in handling the sodomy charges was relatively low.
Not more than 33 percent of all the respondents in the survey expressed confidence or were “somewhat confident” that these institutions would carry out their roles in handling Anwar’s case in a fair and independent manner.
The poll is a part of Merdeka Center’s series of quarterly surveys on issues topping voters’ concerns, perceptions of the economy and views on Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.
The first poll in the series was released in April 2008.