PETALING JAYA : While the Chinese have the highest desire to emigrate due to perceived unfairness in the country, about 15% of Malays, too, want to leave the country.
A study by Oxford University also found that Indians were the most inclined to work collectively to resolve issues affecting them.
The CIMB Foundation funded study found that 15.5% of Malays, 48.8% of Chinese and 37.3% of Indians reported a stronger than average desire to emigrate from Malaysia.
The percentage of respondents expressing a strong desire to emigrate were higher for those who had at least completed their secondary education: 17.3% of Malays, 52.6% of Chinese and 42% of Indians.
Also, younger Malaysians formed the largest group among all ethnicities that wanted to emigrate.
The study, carried out in Peninsular Malaysia in September-October last year, involved 503 Malays, 500 Chinese and 501 Indians.
Titled Attitudes and Ethnoreligious Integration: Meeting the Challenge and Maximizing the Promise of Multicultural Malaysia, it was done by Dr Ananthi Ramiah, Professor Miles Hewstone and Dr Ralf Wölfer.
The study, among other things, investigated the relationship between perceived discrimination and action tendencies such as the desire to emigrate and a willingness to engage in collective action.
The desire to emigrate, however, did not significantly exceed the mid-point of the scale for any of the groups.
The respondents were also asked if they would be willing to undertake collective action to improve the economic standing of their group, by, for example, participating in a protest or demonstration.
Malays and Indians expressed a greater willingness for collective action than a desire to emigrate, while the Chinese expressed a greater desire to emigrate than engage in collective action.
Indians reported significantly higher willingness to engage in collective action compared with the Malays and the Chinese.
The study found that 27.6% of Malays, 23.4% of Chinese and 52.5% of Indians reported a strong willingness to participate in collective action.
Also, younger people indicated greater willingness for collective action, though in the case of the Indians, even the oldest group in the sample (aged 51 years and above) indicated a willingness to engage in collective action above the mid-point of the scale, the report said.
“That so many Indians show a willingness to participate in collective action is an indication of their discontent with the status quo,” the report noted.
Among the Chinese, the study found, that those who were more educated were more willing to participate in collective action than those who were less educated.