Emir Research: Socio-economic sentiments unchanged between final quarters of 2020

A view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline is seen on a hilltop in Ampang January 31, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
A view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline is seen on a hilltop in Ampang January 31, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 — Emir Research has found in its fourth 2020 quarterly survey that Malaysians polled similar percentage of agreement on several socio-economic issues in the previous survey.

The socio-economic issues included education and institution-related matters, governance-related matters and Covid-19-related matters.

“Overall, in this current poll, we observe a similar frequency of agreement on education and institution-related matters compared to the 3Q20 poll,” the report said.

Emir Research is led by Datuk Rais Hussin who was appointed as Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation chairman late last year.

Some demographic differences found by the research are rural group of respondents are found to be more in agreement than the urbanites on ‘one-stream national education system’.

“The Malay and Bumiputera respondents favour a one-stream national education system more than the Indian respondents, while they favour this proposition more than the Chinese respondents.

“Those with higher educational attainment are more agreeable to the teaching Science and Mathematics in English and having a one-stream national education system.

“Respondents aged 31 to 40 gave higher importance to a one-stream national education system,” the report said.

The report also found that Indian respondents indicate the highest level of agreement on teaching Science and Mathematics in English.

On institution related matters rural dwellers report a higher frequency of agreement on the proposition that Islam and Islamic institutions are questioned openly, the report said.

“The Malay and Bumiputera respondents indicate substantially higher agreement with the proposition of Islam and Islamic institutions questioned openly compared to the two other groups of respondents — Chinese and Indians.”

As for governance-related matters, Emir Research found a similar frequency of agreement in this poll as the Q3 20 poll except for ‘moral problems among political leaders’ where 62 per cent of
respondents agreed in the current poll compared to 49 per cent in the earlier poll.

“The Malay and Bumiputera respondents agree more than the Chinese respondents on the effectiveness of anti-corruption taken measures among civil servants.

“The Malay and Bumiputera respondents also show a higher agreement on fighting corruption in enforcement agencies than the Indian respondents,” the report said.

At the same time, respondents aged between 31 and 50 agree more than the oldest sample (51 and above) with the proposition on the existing moral problems among political leaders and the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures among civil servants.

Under a different segment, Malays and Bumiputera respondents favour reinstating mandatory death penalty more than the Chinese and Indian respondents.

“Those in the age bracket of 31 to 40 agree more than the youngest respondents (30 and below) on reinstatement of the mandatory death penalty,” the report said.

For a section that was newly introduced last 3Q20 polls, Covid-19-related matters also has a similar frequency of agreement on a few areas such as the negative impact of the pandemic on the job sector, economy, and national security, as well as government initiatives and governance in tackling the pandemic.

However, the Emir Research introduced a few additional poll questions to probe further the rakyat’s perception of government efforts to combat Covid-19 and its economic consequences, such as perception on governance post-Sabah state election or withdrawals from Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Account 1 in a lump sum or on monthly instalment basis.

For example, despite 62 per cent of the fourth-quarter poll’s respondents being still positive on the governance of Covid-19 (significantly lower than the 72 per cent agreement in the 3Q20 poll), only 45 per cent responded positively to the governance of Covid-19 crisis post-Sabah state polls.

“About half of the respondents agree to both lump sum withdrawals from EPF Account 1 and monthly withdrawals from EPF Account 1,” the report said.

The research also found that negative impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the economy and national security appears to be felt more by urban population respondents.

“Among those surveyed, the negative impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, job sector and national security appear to be felt more by the higher qualification attainers than those with the lower qualification.

“The higher educated sample is also more in agreement with government initiatives in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and governance of the Covid-19 crisis,” the report said.

As for 31 to 40-year-old respondents (early millennials and the largest group of the current workforce) they are the most agreeable to the following items in comparison to the youngest and the oldest groups of respondents, negative impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, government initiatives in tackling the  pandemic, governance of Covid-19 crisis and lump sum withdrawals from EPF Account 1.

“Negative impact of Covid-19 on the economy, job sector and national security was acknowledged more by the respondents who earn RM3,001 and above rather than those earning RM 1,500 and below.

“Interestingly, the group of respondents who earn RM3,001 to RM5,000 registered significantly higher agreement than other income groups for the following items — governance of Covid-19 crisis, governance of Covid-19 crisis after Sabah state polls and lump sum withdrawals from EPF Account 1,” the report said.

The research was conducted last December involving some 1,976 respondents comprising the people from all the states in the country.

Among the objectives of the poll is to assess the perceived direction of the country and living condition among the people.

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