Poll: Malaysians still worried about Covid-19 but optimism growing

People wearing masks throng Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to do some shopping in Kuala Lumpur April 18, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
People wearing masks throng Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to do some shopping in Kuala Lumpur April 18, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — The Covid-19 pandemic is still a pressing concern for Malaysians, but fewer are now as worried as they were in the second half of last year, a new survey found.

Conducted by market research company Ipsos, the survey that ran from April 2020 until March 2021 with 500 online respondents monthly indicated that 61 per cent of them said last month that Covid-19 is one of their three biggest concerns.

The next closest month would be September 2020, when 58 per cent of the respondents said the same thing. From October 2020 until February 2021, this varied between 69 to 77 per cent of respondents.

The survey also indicated that a few months into the year, Malaysians are on average feeling better, both emotionally and mentally, compared to the start of 2021

Malaysia’s mental wellness improvement at 12 per cent is the third-highest in the Asia-Pacific region, behind China at 41 per cent and India at 51 per cent.

In contrast Japan experienced considerable mental decline since the beginning of 2021, decreasing by 22 per cent, followed by South Korea at 16 per cent, and Hong Kong at seven per cent.

Malaysians are also determined to stay optimistic, as two out of three respondents think life will start to resemble normalcy within the next year.

As with mental wellness, Malaysia is the third-most optimistic country in Asia-Pacific, with 68 per cent of respondents indicating as such. India is the most optimistic at 79 per cent, followed by China at 77 per cent.

Ipsos Malaysia public affairs senior manager Lars Erik Lie noted that just a year prior, it would have been hard to imagine how much life was about to change across the world.

“One year onwards, there is increasing optimism that things are about to change for the better. Malaysians’ concern about Covid has been consistently high throughout the last year, but is now at its lowest level since September 2020, with mental and emotional health improving.

“A majority of Malaysians are optimistic that life will start to look more like pre-Covid within the next year,” he said in a statement.

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