Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's popularity ratings have surged to 65 percent thanks to his economic reforms and an olive branch extended to minorities, a poll said Wednesday.
The Merdeka Centre research firm's findings, which represent a substantial swing since a May poll found he had just 46 percent support, are a boost for Najib as he prepares to mark 100 days in office.
The survey found that 65 percent of the 1,060 people surveyed were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with his performance as prime minister, and only 22 percent were dissatisfied.
"People are giving the new premier a positive response to efforts that he is making on the economic front, the economic liberalisation measures and (investment) incentives," pollster Ibrahim Suffian told AFP.
"He has also tried to showcase a more inclusive message to the minorities," he said of Najib's "One Malaysia" concept to promote unity between the country's different ethnic groups.
The survey showed Najib enjoyed 74 percent approval from both the majority Muslim Malays and minority Indian community, but ethnic Chinese support was lower at 48 percent.
Najib has been partly dismantling a decades-old system of positive discrimination for Malays, who enjoyed benefits in education, housing and jobs, which had previously been seen as a political taboo.
However, the new popularity rating is still relatively low compared to his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who enjoyed 91 percent support when he first took power in 2004.
And Ibrahim warned that Najib could suffer the fate of his predecessor, who was forced to resign after a lacklustre term in power during which he disappointed Malaysia by failing to introduce promised reforms.
"For Najib to sustain the high approval will depends on his ability to deliver the promises," he said.
Najib, the son and nephew of two former prime ministers, came to office with heavy political baggage including opposition attempts to link him with corruption and the murder of a Mongolian woman who was the lover of his aide.
Source: AFP Asian Edition