Malays’ confidence in politicians, lawmakers plunged over 2018, study shows

The shadow of a campaign worker is seen against a Pakatan Harapan flag at Pasir Panjang in Port Dickson October 11, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
The shadow of a campaign worker is seen against a Pakatan Harapan flag at Pasir Panjang in Port Dickson October 11, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 ― While a change of government has ramped up confidence of Malaysians in their politicians and the Parliament, the opposite has happened with the Malay community, a survey has revealed.

The survey by the International Islamic University Malaysia’s Department of Communication showed that the Malays were the only ethnic group to have fallen in their confidence in political parties, leaders, and the Parliament over the year.

“It appeared that the general elections of May 2018 may have positively influenced the trust of political parties and politicians among the races. But it was not so among the Malays,” said Prof Datuk Syed Arabi Abdullah who led the study.  

“The majority of Malays felt they were losing trust in their political power and implicitly placed the blame on their political parties and leaders,” he told Malay Mail.

The study, assisted by research coordinator Azrul Hisyam Wakichan, compared the results of a survey it published in January last year to the one in December that same year.




Overall, the percentage of Malaysians who were confident with political parties rose from 60 per cent in January to 63 per cent in December, and similarly with confidence in political leaders from 58 to 62 per cent.

Confidence in Parliament among citizens also increased slightly from 71 to 73 per cent over the same period.




But the converse was true when it comes to percentage of Malays or Bumiputera who were confident with political parties (fell from 65 to 58 per cent), political leaders (63 to 57 per cent), or Parliament (74 to 67 per cent).

Across all fields, the ethnic Indians and others saw the biggest increase in confidence — the group had the lowest confidence compared to others in January, but leaped to become those with highest confidence in December.




Syed Arabi said the fall in confidence among the Malays was reflected by the remarks made by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (PPBM) leaders during its recent annual assembly, as it sought to reassure the Malays that it will defend the community’s interest.

“The election had sapped the trust Malays have of their political institutions. Some lament that the Malay political dominance for the last 61 years had given way to parties that would not champion the Malays.

“So the statement made by PPBM chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was meant to reassure the Malays of its stand vis-à-vis the other component parties,” the lecturer said.

This comes as earlier this week, Umno acting president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan also vowed that Umno will review its Malay agenda, to ensure it will not sideline other ethnic groups.

The study had polled 2,551 respondents nationwide in face-to-face interviews between November 2017 and January 2018 for the first survey, and 1,469 respondents between November and December 2018 for the second one.