Malaysians believe country heading in right direction, worried about crime and violence

02 May 2019 / 16:43 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: More Malaysians now believe that the country is heading in the right direction, according to a recently completed survey by market research firm Ipsos.

Corruption has become less of a concern now than previously. Among the top five worries for the people, the corruption issue has dropped to third place, compared with last year when it was the people’s biggest worry.

However, the country is still not out of the woods. Businesses fret about the poor health of the economy, and there is growing discontent among those in the younger generation over what they perceive as the slow pace of reforms.

The results of the survey of 1,500 people show that 57% of Malaysians now believe that the country is moving in the right direction, with the remaining 43% of them seeing the opposite.

It’s those in the younger generation who are less pleased with the current conditions.

Ipsos Malaysia managing director Arun Menon said in his presentation today that crime and violence had now replaced corruption as the biggest worry for Malaysians. A total of 39% of the people surveyed said this was their top concern.

The second biggest concern is inflation (a major worry for 34% of Malaysians), followed by corruption at 32%, poverty and inequality at 31% and jobs and unemployment at 28%.

“Corruption topped the list before the 14th general elections,” Menon said.

Businesses, on the other hand, are less optimistic. A survey of 250 businesses by Ipsos Business Consulting showed that the private sector had become less confident of the government’s ability to turn the economy around.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most satisfied, businesses only gave the government a 2.9 rating, down from 3.7 last year.

For the business community, uncertainty seems to be the prevailing perception. Ipsos Business Consulting country head Kiranjit Singh said 52% of the businesses surveyed said they were “not sure” if current economic policies were taking the economy in the right direction, compared with 33% who were still happy with what the government was doing.

The remaining 13% have no doubt that the government is taking the economy the wrong way.

Kiranjit said the top three worries for the business community were the slowdown in the local economy, uncertainties over government policies and fluctuations in the value of the ringgit.

“The top three things that they want the government to focus on are addressing their concerns about the ringgit, ensuring consistency in policies and improving financial support and assistance for them,” he added.

To do that, he said, the government should communicate its economic game plan more effectively, refrain from making public statements based on anecdotal evidence and boost investments in good digital infrastructure nationwide.

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