New Straits Times 10 Mac 2009

March 10, 2009

Survey: Ali the front-runner
By : Farrah Naz Karim

2009/03/10

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is in second place
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is in second place

PUTRAJAYA: The pole position in the impending Umno election race has changed drastically since nominations were last tallied, according to a Universiti Malaya survey concluded last month.

Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam is in pole position
Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam is in pole position

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who secured about twice the number of nominations as his competitors for the deputy president’s post, is now said to be lagging behind his closest rival, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, who has the support of 54 per cent of delegates compared to his 35 per cent.

Another candidate, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, remained in third place with 11 per cent of the votes in the survey conducted by Prof Dr Abu Hassan Hasbullah’s Zentrum Future Studies Malaysia of the university.

The survey had some 2,030 respondents, including 163 Umno delegates.

In the same survey among members of other political parties, including Barisan Nasional components, 66 per cent preferred Muhyiddin, while 48 per cent of the public felt he should hold the post.
The survey of Umno ordinary members showed that 47 per cent wanted Ali as deputy president. However, if the numbers were lumped together, the difference in support for Ali and Muhyiddin was a mere two per cent, with the former securing 43 per cent.

The micro study on Political Influences of the 2009 party election, in detailing the strengths and weaknesses of the three candidates, said that a majority of candidates concurred that Muhyiddin was the most “intelligent, charismatic”, the candidate with the best “international relations” and the one with “leadership”.

He was also the one that “people trusted the most”, the report said, adding that Muhyiddin was also viewed as the least corrupt.

However, he lost out to Ali in terms of “popularity, diplomacy” and “political experience”.

Muhammad was picked as the most experienced candidate but was also viewed by respondents as the one with the most problems related to perceptions on nepotism, cronyism and corruption.

He recorded 48 per cent, compared with Ali and Muhyiddin, with 29 and 23 per cent, respectively.

The survey also concluded that Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who led in the number of nominations for the vice-presidents’ posts, has ended up as the one with the least support in the eight-candidate list.

Hishammuddin, who is vacating his Umno Youth chief post , is losing out to Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who from the start had been trailing a spot behind him.

Zahid, according to the survey, secured 23 per cent of votes compared to Hishammuddin’s six per cent.

The survey, which said that results from Sarawak, Sabah, Kedah and Perlis would only be processed later this week, also revealed that Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim and Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin had gone up to second (18 per cent) and third (14 per cent) positions respectively.

In the battle for the Wanita chief post between Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, it said that the latter was in the lead with 53 per cent.

The current standing of popularity among the three contenders for the Youth chief post showed leading nominee Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir moving down to second place with 39 per cent, while the wing’s current deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin had the support of 46 per cent of respondents.

Datuk Rosnah Abd Rashid Shirlin, who was racing head and head with her competitor Datuk Shahaniza Shamsuddin, had fallen to third place, with the latter taking top spot with 27 per cent.

Datin Ismalina Ismail was in second place.

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