KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 — Emir Research has found in its fourth 2020 quarterly survey that potential job loss remained the biggest concern for Malaysians amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with almost eight out 10 Malaysians expressing this fear.

Its survey revealed that 81 per cent of respondents polled responded they were worried of losing their jobs due to Covid-19, in a list of eight Covid-19 related worries presented to them; only six per cent said they were not worried at all.

“Overall, the dynamic and magnitude of responses remain unchanged in comparison to the 3Q20.

“In terms of household income, respondents earning between RM3,001 to RM5,000 appeared to be the most worried group as they demonstrated a significantly higher magnitude of worry on employment and living cost dimensions than those who make less than RM3,000 overall,” the report said.

Three other Covid-19 related worries recorded similar responses. Covid-19 threats due to illegal immigrant, quality of education and insufficient income were each cited by 79 per cent of respondents.

The remaining four worries were mental health (75 per cent), rising level of national debt (74 per cent), quality of healthcare (73 per cent) and patient waiting time (72 per cent).

“The concern about rising national debt was as high as the respondents’ concern about the state of mental health. 

“This shows that voices worried with the rising national debt are getting traction, especially in the wake of Fitch Rating’s downgrading of our sovereign debt in November 2020,” it added.

Some demographic differences found by the research was that urban respondents worried significantly more than their rural counterparts on six of the aforementioned worries — losing a job, insufficient income, Covid-19 threats due to illegal immigrants, rising national debt level, mental health and patient waiting time.

The survey also indicated a significantly higher level of worry amongst the Malays, Bumiputera and Indians than their Chinese respondents in three aforementioned worries — quality of education, quality of healthcare and mental health.

Separately, respondents with higher qualifications demonstrated a higher tendency to worry about Covid-19 threats due to illegal immigrants.

At the same time, the oldest group of respondents (those aged 51 and above) appears to worry less than those in their 30s — 40s overall, particularly on the living cost dimension.

The state-wide survey was conducted in December last year, involving some 1,976 respondents nationwide.

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