Three out of four Malaysians in Ipsos survey want Putrajaya to invest big in infrastructure post Covid-19; priority for digital coverage and roads

Workers are pictured at a construction site in Kuala Lumpur November 5, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Workers are pictured at a construction site in Kuala Lumpur November 5, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — An overwhelming 75 per cent of Malaysians surveyed by global research firm Ipsos want the government to invest more in infrastructure, which they believe will be the main driver for the country’s economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the top for infrastructure investment projects were digital infrastructure (broadband, fibre and 5G) and road infrastructure. More than half of Malaysians surveyed by Ipsos said this should be the priority for the government.

Ipsos noted that the Malaysian response towards government investment in infrastructure far outstripped their peers throughout the rest of the Asia-Pacific region at 65 per cent and the global average of 68 per cent.

The Ipsos Global Infrastructure Index survey was conducted between July 24 and August 7 and involved 19,516 participants in 27 countries. The company did not disclose the number of Malaysian respondents.

According to Ipsos, an overwhelming 84 per cent of Malaysians agreed that investing in infrastructure is vital to Malaysia’s future economic growth.

This belief has seen an upward tick compared to previous years. Last year, 79 per cent of Malaysians held that view on infrastructure investment while 75 per cent said so in 2018.

“The views of Malaysians are in line with many economists who believe spending on infrastructure and construction projects will jumpstart the economy and create the much-needed jobs for Malaysians.

“Due to the sector’s strong linkages to other parts of the economy, every job created by the sector has the potential to create additional two jobs indirectly,” Kiranjit Singh, Ipsos’ South-east Asia head of strategy 3 said in an accompanying statement released today.

The survey also found that Malaysians viewed rail infrastructure projects as the least priority with only 34 per cent considering it an attractive investment target.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah told Parliament last week that 5G deployment in Malaysia will take place towards the end of 2022 or early 2023 after achieving specific connectivity targets.

This is in part due to the change of administration in March 2020 and the new government’s effort on strengthening existing 4G networks under the National Digital Infrastructure Plan (Jendela).

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