KUALA LUMPUR: A majority of Malaysians from diverse backgrounds are worried over the economy, high living costs and precarious employment prospects, according to the National Worry Index.

Malaysia scored a “maximum worry” index of 0.77 on a scale of 0 to 1, based on the survey released yesterday by Emir Research, an independent think thank specialising in data-driven research.

The survey polled 1,992 respondents of a variety of races, ages, race, income levels, religions and educational backgrounds.

It found that 86% are worried about the cost of basic needs and non-affordable homes while 77% are concerned about the lack of job opportunities.

International Islamic University Malaysia Professor Datuk Mohamad Sahari Nordin, who led the research team, told a news conference yesterday the index was “not perfect” and required further analysis.

“Right now Malaysians are at the maximum worry level and anything that goes over 0.5 and beyond is somewhat excessive as far as the worry levels are,” Mohamad Sahari said.

He pointed out that the sentiments may fluctuate over time and it is not permanent as he said “maximum worry” is not enough to be called a “sickness” yet.

Apart from that, what keep Malaysians awake at night is the well-being of the nation.

According to Mohamad Sahari, 50% of the respondents are unsure whether the country’s is on the right track.