Many believe New Malaysia on the right track, survey finds

Ipsos Malaysia managing director Arun Menon (standing) and Ipsos business consulting country head for Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines, Kiranjit Singh.

KUALA LUMPUR: A new study by a global market research company has found that more than half of Malaysians surveyed believe that the country is still on the right track, days before Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) one-year anniversary in Putrajaya.

However, Ipsos Malaysia managing director Arun Menon said the number of Malaysians who think that the country is heading in the wrong direction is slowly increasing.

“As positivity gradually adjusts to everyday reality, more than half of Malaysians (57%) remain confident and believe that the country is moving in the right direction, compared to three-quarters (75%) immediately after the 14th general election,” he said in his presentation here on the survey “What Worries Malaysia: Is Malaysia Moving in the Right Direction?”

“At the current rate, the perception of Malaysia going in the wrong direction is gaining momentum, at about 43% now compared to 25% before.”

The study, conducted on 1,500 participants through face-to-face interviews as well as online, also found that crime and violence rank the highest among public concerns compared to corruption a year ago, followed by inflation and cost of living.

“The public’s excitement following the general election has subsided after a year, but Malaysians still remain positive about the country’s direction under the current government leadership,” Arun said.

“Key concerns include expectations for the government to come up with more measures to address the perception of crime and violence in the country, and to significantly lessen the financial burdens to improve citizens’ quality of life.”

When met later, Arun said before the general election, the youth and those who were employed were primarily concerned about the national direction, while those who were older and from the middle-income bracket were willing to wait for change.

“It will take time to feel the difference from policy changes, but we don’t think that people in this group are ready to wait for it,” he said, referring to the youth and those who earn lower incomes.

“We feel that the way forward is for the government to focus more on this group. They expected more from the PH government. Ultimately, the concern is cost of living.”

Ipsos business consulting head for Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines, Kiranjit Singh, said there has been a dip in optimism since the May 9 polls last year.

“If you ask them exactly what the biggest issue is, and whether we are moving in the right direction, about 50% of them said they are not sure.

“Sometimes they say there is ‘too much’ information. There are (different) messages from different people. So the government has to communicate their economic policies more effectively,” he told FMT.

He said the study found that about 70% believe that the country is moving in the right direction in terms of business.

“That means if PH can improve or enhance its messaging methods for business policies, here is an opportunity to boost the confidence of the local community.”