KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 — Only 49 per cent of Malaysians are paying close attention to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine compared to the rest of the world, according to a recent survey conducted by market analyst Ipsos Malaysia.

The same study found that the majority of citizens here are still more focused on how to deal with the economic hardships brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic after two years, and believe money would be better spent on domestic recovery efforts than to help war-stricken Ukrainians.

Ipsos released the findings of its study titled The War in Ukraine today, which showed that the majority of Malaysians feel that the war between the two Western countries in Europe should not be a concern for South-east Asia’s third biggest economy and ought to be avoided.

“Despite the global implications, proximity to the war will have an impact on how much attention is paid, and in Malaysia, a minority say they are following stories about the war closely.


“This is significantly lower than the other countries surveyed, including major Asian countries such as Japan, India and South Korea,” Lars Erik Lie, Ipsos Malaysia’s associate director of public affairs, said in a statement accompanying its survey findings.

According to the Ipsos survey, the global average of people paying attention to the latest war in Europe stands at 79 per cent.

In Asia, Ipsos found the Japanese paying the most attention to the war in Ukraine at 89 per cent, followed by India at 76 per cent and South Korea at 66 per cent.


Malaysians surveyed said the country’s economic hardships brought on by the pandemic should be a priority, and that financial support should be funnelled towards this recovery instead of providing financial aid to Ukraine.

“The prevailing sentiment is that the conflict is not Malaysia’s business, and that Malaysia should avoid getting involved.

“This also extends to financial support — with the economy still recovering from the Covid crisis, a large majority of Malaysians feel that financial support to Ukraine should not be a priority,” Lie said.

According to the survey, 81 per cent of Malaysians polled said that Malaysia should avoid military involvement in the Ukrainian war.

Another 80 per cent said that Malaysia cannot afford to lend financial support to Ukraine given the current domestic economic situation.

Ipsos said 59 per cent of its Malaysian respondents felt that the war in Ukraine is none of Malaysia’s business, while the same number of respondents agreed that the best way the country can help is by taking in Ukrainians fleeing their country as refugees.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. The war there has left thousands of Ukrainians dead or injured, reduced its towns and cities to rubble, and forced more than five million people to flee abroad.

Moscow calls its actions a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists.

Ukraine and other Western nations have accused Russia of using excuses to expand its territory, triggering fears of a wider conflict in Europe that may escalate to a bigger war.