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Of UK General Elections, Opinion Polls and Malaysia

Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown and David Cameron (The Telegraph)

The latest poll conducted by ICM for The Guardian puts the Conservatives down three per cent on 37 per cent, with Labour climbing one per cent to 30 per cent. The Lib Dems are down one at 20 per cent. Read more

For years, I have always been interested with opinion polls and my interest grew a bit when I took Research Methodology for my MA course. It always baffled me when I come to think that Malaysia does not have its own established independent polling company. I have always asked myself why there was not a single credible opinion poll to gauge popular public opinion especially in the run-up periods before elections?

But of course that was all until our very own independent opinion research, Merdeka Centre came into the picture. It's good that we have Merdeka Centre, but I do hope we have a couple more independent polling companies. I believe by having more opinion polls - not just during elections though - is a positive sign towards a mature democracy. Democracy is not just about electing your MP into office once every 5 years, but it encompasses every aspect of politics and society.

Thomas Friedman once said "the world is flat". Indeed, and so does democracy. To put Friedman's idea into the political context, that would mean, the democratisation of democracy, which roughly means greater political participation from the public. The old top-down order is slowly being replaced with a new bottom-up political approach.

Our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is aware of this. That's why in a statement made last year, he said that "the era of goverment knows best is over" or something along that line.

As they say "the opposition does not win elections, the Government loses them". Najib is absolutely aware of that. Hence, you see him doing his walkabouts throughout the whole country - from Kuala Lumpur to Kedah and Sarawak. To quote off The Star, "We have a thinking Prime Minister in charge".

UK General Elections
The upcoming the British elections, which will take place this year seems to have caught my interest, lately. I remember an interview I did with one young opposition MP who supports the Conservative party leader David Cameron, hinted that should Cameron and the Conservatives wins the next UK General Elections, then the opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat stands a good chance in the 13th General Elections! Agree? Yes, No?

Speaking off the record, she however noted that Cameron hasn't been too clear on the economic front. In her own words, verbatim;

"See, we don't have to be too clear on a lot of things!" she said with a big smile.

It shook me a bit though. But of course, she wasn't being serious - but still, the fact that she mentioned it says something too. :-)

So, with or without the UK elections, I believe the outcome of the 13th General Elections would to some extent depends much on Najib's political strategies and whether he could solve the problems within Barisan Nasional component parties.

According to popular blogger Raja Petra, he admitted that it would be much harder to defeat Najib from the outside, but easier from the inside, citing the case of the racist remark uttered by Najib's former special officer as an example.

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