(MM) - The Sibu by-election held last May raised some doubts as to Barisan Nasional's grip over Sarawak but a recent poll conducted by an independent body has proved otherwise.
According to the survey by the Merdeka Center, the findings of which were released Tuesday, most Sarawakians still support the BN.
"A total of 64.1 percent of the respondents threw their support behind the BN, an increase of 1.1 percent over the popular votes received by the ruling party in the 2006 state election," said Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) lecturer Faisal S. Hazis, who had conducted the survey titled "Between Continuity and Change: An Analysis of Voting Behavior in Sarawak 2010" for Merdeka Center.
Speaking at a media briefing here, Faisal said the survey conducted from January to April involved 518 respondents in Sarawak aimed at assessing their perception towards both the Barisan Nasional (BN) and opposition parties.
However, he said respondents pointed out several shortcomings in the BN, such as internal rivalry and money politics.
"A total of 65.9 percent wanted the BN to take affirmative action (to resolve the problems) while 74 percent of them believed that corruption was a major problem in the country," he said.
Voting behaviour in Sarawak
On factors influencing voting behaviour in Sarawak, Faisal said 36.9 per cent of the respondents chose contesting parties as the main factor, particularly the ones that could bring about development to the state.
"The other factors were issues related to the voters while choice of candidates remained as the third most important factor," he said.
Faisal also said it remained an uphill task for the opposition to take over the state as they needed to capture a minimum of 36 out of the 71 seats in the state.