KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 — The Malay Muslim community prioritised social and economic issues such as poverty and living cost over matters such as institutional reform, according to a survey by think-tank Ilham Centre.
In its “Institutional Reform in Malaysia: Malay Muslims Views and Sentiment” report, it said respondents viewed issues such as parliamentary reform, good administration, judiciary reform, press freedom, and fair elections as too distant to have immediate effects on their lives.
“The issue of ‘bread and butter’ preceded everything. The main consideration of the Malay community in their life choices, they will prioritise aspects of their survival.
“That is, if referring to agendas such as institutional reform of Parliament, government (administration), judiciary, media, elections and others, the theme is too far from their lives,” it said in a statement today.
The research centre said that 32 per cent of Malay Muslim respondents said the economy should get focus for improvement, followed by government administration (27 per cent), Parliament (13 per cent), judiciary (seven per cent) and others (12 per cent).
Ilham Centre’s Prof Hamidin Abdul Hamid said the institutional reform agenda lacked traction among the Malay Muslim community because they could not see its direct effects in their lives.
“I think most of the reasons why institutional reform failed to get its place within the Malay community is because the ones who gave the information failed to correlate the reform agenda with their daily livelihood.
“I think that this (misinformation issue) must be fixed immediately because the Malay community wants to see how the reform agenda is able to put food on their table, improve their source of income, ease the process of their children’s education, and increase their employment opportunities,” he said during the report’s press conference.
The Malay-Muslim community was open towards institutional reforms but the leaders must understand the group’s values better in order to communicate the importance of this agenda, the report said.