While the Cabinet feels Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak need not to take leave pending an official probe on US$2.6 billion of 1MDB funds traced to his personal bank accounts, the man-on-the-street, however, does not seem share the same sentiment.

In a random survey conducted by Malaysiakini on Thursday, 18 out of 20 respondents called for Najib to go on leave immediately pending the outcome of the probe by the multi-agency task force.

A respondent also suggested that if Najib refuses to go on leave, he should at least  reveal his personal bank account statements to prove his innocence.

A majority of those interviewed expressed skepticism that the special task force would act independently with one interviewee even expressing fear that it may end up covering Najib's back.

Fourteen respondents said they don't believe that  the task forcecan perform its duty without bias.

The task force comprises  Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, Bank Negara Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Inspector -General of police Khalid Abu Bakar and MACC chief Abu Kassim Mohamed.

Two questions were posed to a total of 20 people chosen from different genders, races and age groups for this interview.

Respondents ranged from students  to professional workers, aged between 20 to 55.

The two questions were on the trustworthiness of the task force and whether the prime minister should take leave while the investigation is conducted.

'Highly questionable'

Apart from the 14 who did not trust the task force, six said they did believe in the task force's integrity while 18 said the PM should go on leave.

Only two respondents were in favor of Najib continuing  with his official duties while the probe was ongoing.

Below are a sample of the responses obtained.

Isaac, 29, manager : The head of the task force seems to be very much affiliated with the PM. It is more or less like a puppet show. I don't believe them.

Joyce Lim, 35, sales manager : I feel it is not trustworthy and a new commission or task force needs to be formed.

Fatin, 25, graduate: Not believable. The four officials are all holding top posts and seem to be the PM's allies and will cover his back. The prime minister should take leave from the cabinet to avoid any misuse of power in and to stabilise the current polemics happening in the country.

Kausalya, 32, bank employee: The integrity of the task force is highly questionable and this increases the doubts while the formation of it was kept in dark and it emerged all of a sudden.

'Reveal bank account details'

Rafley, 33, telemarketer: The task force is trustworthy because all these four people are high-profile personalities and they must have understood the seriousness of this issue.

Lee, 54, businessperson: I find it is independent and it can function without intervention from any parties.

On the question of going on leave, a higher number of people agreed that Najib should take temporary leave until the investigation proves that he is completely innocent.

Jeffrey, 20, student :The prime minister should take leave until the investigation ends and clear his name of all the allegations as it involves a huge sum of money.

Gopalakrishnan, 49, businessperson: The question of integrity is important and he will lose the trust of the people if he doesn't go on leave,

Kamarudin, 45, stall owner: Najib has to definitely take a leave unless he choses to reveal his personal bank account details or assets.

The comments above generally indicate growing public frustration with the intractability of the 1MDB issue compounded by trust issues with government agencies and leaders.

BARATHI SELVAM is a Malaysiakini intern.