Member of Malaysian's ruiling party, United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) shout slogans in support of the Malaysian monarchy in Kular Lumpar February 19, 2009. --PHOTO: REUTERS
KUALA LUMPUR - UMNO has received a slap in the face just ahead of its key annual meeting, with many voters polled in a survey seeing Malaysia's biggest political party as corrupt and out of touch with the ground.
Respondents to the survey also said that International Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was the best choice for the deputy prime minister's position, a contrast from Umno pundits, who expect another leader to emerge as the new No. 2.
The 1,031 respondents also felt that the views of ordinary Malaysians should be considered while picking leaders in internal Umno polls, going against the conventional political wisdom that the leaders are picked only by party members.
The party's chiefs are currently elected by about 2,500 top Umno cadres in elections that are held every three years.
The survey was conducted last month by independent pollster Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research.
Respondents comprised 57 per cent Malays, 31 per cent Chinese and 12 per cent Indians based on random sampling.
The survey showed that a year after the watershed general election that empowered the opposition, voters were clamouring for a bigger say in how the country's leaders were picked.
'This survey indicates the Malaysian public's keen interest in Umno's election,' Merdeka Centre chief Ibrahim Suffian said in a statement.
'They also have strong views about the problems affecting the party while at the same time harbour high hopes that those elected...will be able to fulfil their wishes.'
From March 24 to 28, Umno will hold its annual assembly, which incorporates the triennial party polls.
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