Survey: Majority Live in ‘Extreme Worry’, Unsure About Government

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A survey aimed at forming a National Worry Index (NWI) has found the worry level to be at “maximum”.

Most Malaysians worry about:

  • the cost of living
  • jobs
  • security
  • economics

Almost half of the respondents were not sure of:

  • the country is on the right track
  • the economy is on a strong footing
  • Pakatan Harapan’s viability

The study by Emir Research, also found that a majority of respondents were either unsure or disagreed that the Pakatan Harapan government is viable, the country is on the right track, or that the economy is on a strong footing.

Emir Research’s chief executive officer is Rais Hussin, who is a Bersatu supreme council member.

The research, conducted between Sept 5 and Oct 10, had 1,992 respondents with a three per cent margin error.

The survey also closely mirrors national demographics, with 65.6 per cent of respondents being Malay and Bumiputera, Chinese (28.2 per cent), and Indian (6.2 per cent.

All questions were based on findings from various focus groups such as Sabah and Sarawak Bumiputeras and Orang Asli, paddy farmers, business owners and professionals, the youth and housewives.

The survey was conducted in Malay and Mandarin.

For the NWI, the index was based on responses from four cluster of questions regarding cost of living, employment, economics and security.

Among the issues raised were the rising price of goods, lack of job opportunities, quality of education, and the crime rate.

Based on the answers given, on an index scale between zero to one, the score for national worry was at 0.77, which is in the maximum worry bracket.

The public, they found, was most worried about the cost of living, which was at 0.81 on the index, followed by jobs (0.78), security (0.77) and economics (0.74).

Between races, worry about the cost of living was about the same, with the Malays slightly more worried than the Chinese or Indians. The latter two, however, were less worried (a 10 per cent difference) about economics, security, and jobs.

International Islamic University of Malaysia professor Mohamad Sahari Nordin, who led the research team, said the index was “not perfect” and required further analysis.

However, he said the data currently speaks for itself, and that “extreme worry means extreme worry” among the public.

Meanwhile, on separate questions regarding the current state of affairs, only a few were positive.

Asked if the country’s future was on the right track, 50 per cent said they were not sure, and 24 per cent said no.

Likewise, 44 per cent of the respondents were unsure if the economy was on a strong footing, while 30 per cent said it was not.

On whether the Harapan government was viable, 46 per cent said they were not sure, and 30 per cent said no.

A racial breakdown of the responses showed that Malays were more pessimistic about Harapan (36 per cent), while the Chinese were more optimistic (37 per cent.

However, 45 per cent of respondents from both races were not sure about Harapan’s viability.

Indian respondents were split, with 29 per cent saying the government was not viable, and 22 per cent saying it was, and 49 per cent saying they were not sure.

Emir Research plans to conduct the survey every quarter next year. – Malaysiakini