KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 ― Nearly half of Malaysians recently polled have opposed the proposal for a single-stream education system in order to foster unity, while another nearly half said they support the idea.

According to a survey on unity carried out by market research firm Kajidata, 47.4 per cent of 1,025 Malaysians were against the proposal, with 10.9 per cent of the total polled were “very opposed” to it.

In comparison, 9.8 per cent of respondents were “very supportive” to the proposal, making up the 41.4 per cent who supported it.

This comes as three-quarters of Malaysians, or 75.1 per cent, said they support the current variety of schools that currently exists for the sake of unity, compared to 15.9 per cent who did not.

Kajidata said the ethnic Chinese and the Sabah Bumiputera were among the top ethnicities who supported this, at 81.5 per cent and 82.3 per cent respectively. A total of 71.7 per cent of Malays also supported the variety of choice.

Single-stream schools ― either in the Malay or English language ― have long been mooted in Malaysia as a way to integrate Malaysians, but the proposal faces opposition from proponents of vernacular schools.

Earlier this month commenting on single education system, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) initiative was still at the discussion and fact gathering stage, and no decision has been made to revamp the current education policy.

In addition, the Kajidata survey also showed that over eight in 10 Malaysians, or 82.4 per cent of those polled, supported meritocracy and agreed with Putrajaya granting education scholarship across religions and skin colours.

Although 10.8 per cent did not agree to such a thing, Kajidata said its analysis showed that all ethnicities tend to support meritocracy when it comes to scholarship.

Despite that, eight in 10 Malaysians did agree that the use of Malay language can foster unity among Malaysians (80.9 per cent), compared to 12.2 per cent of those polled who did not agree.

The survey by Kajidata was to gauge Malaysians’ thoughts on the TN50 initiative, with a focus on unity and prosperity.

It was done through computerised telephone interviews between March 8 and March 17, 2017 among 1,025 Malaysian adults randomly sampled across ethnicity, gender, age and state based on national demographics.