Malaysians losing confidence about future, says report

PETALING JAYA: Economic and political uncertainties have caused Malaysians to lose confidence in the country’s direction, according to a report by pollster Merdeka Center.

It said 61% of Malaysians surveyed in November felt that the country was on the wrong track, with only 26% thinking the opposite.

Economic concerns topped the list of biggest problems faced by the country, with a 61% response from those surveyed.

In response to the Merdeka Centre report, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said today the government was confident that economic growth would be better this year. He listed five factors for an improved economy, among them higher commodity prices and greater government spending.

Other major problems cited in the survey were: racial issues cited by 7.5%, political leadership (4.2%), social and public safety (3.1%) and politics (1.5%).

The top five issues of concern to those surveyed were: inflation (cited by 53.1%), job opportunities (22.2%), corruption (20.8%), Malay rights and fair treatment of all races (20.5%) and political instability (17.5%).

A graphic view of falling confidence among Malaysians. (Merdeka Center pic)

“Confidence in Pakatan Harapan to run the economy continues to decline as discourse over government expenditure, sale of assets and uncertainties on proposed public infrastructure initiatives (eg: toll road nationalisation) mounts.

“The unveiling of the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 has not arrested the pace of the decline,” the report added.

Racial polarisation was cited by 16% of those surveyed as the reason for the country being off-track, while weak government administration and leadership were mentioned by 14% and 13% of respondents.

On the political front, the think tank said Malaysian politics were currently guided by the transfer of power of the prime minister and the stability of the government while preparing for the 15th general election.