KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — As worries about the Covid-19 pandemic decline, Malaysians are now more concerned about inflation, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos Malaysia.
The study titled, "What Worries Malaysia”, revealed that the number of Malaysians surveyed worried about Covid-19 has dropped from its highest point of 85 per cent in April 2020 to 31 per cent in May 2022.
Meanwhile, the number of respondents worried about inflation has climbed to 27 per cent this month — the highest point it has reached since the beginning of the survey data in April 2020.
The Associate Director of Ipsos Malaysia Public Affairs Lars Erik Lie says; "As Malaysia is entering the endemic phase and the country is opening up, there’s been a remarkable decrease in people’s concern about Covid-19; worry about the virus is at its lowest level since the beginning of the pandemic."
As the ‘new normal’ gives way to ‘old normal’, the comfort of spending on both household and major items is at its highest in the past 12 months according to the survey.
"With the recovery in consumer demand, combined with increased pressure on supply chains brought on by global events such as the war in Ukraine, concern about inflation is now on the rise.
"The top Malaysian worry these months is financial or political corruption, which has 53 per cent of respondents worried, up five per cent from the previous month. The Global Country Average (GCA) for this issue is at 24 per cent," the survey outcome read.
The next largest concern is unemployment, down three per cent this month to 34 per cent, just slightly higher than the GCA of 27 per cent.
This is followed by concerns about Covid-19 (31 per cent nationally, as mentioned earlier, with a GCA of 16 per cent), poverty and social inequality (30 per cent nationally with a GCA of 31 per cent) and inflation (as mentioned, 27 per cent nationally, and a GCA of 34 per cent).
Spending comfort among Malaysians in the last six months is also recovering, as the study shows how it had dropped last year from 43 per cent in November to 38 per cent in December with regards to household purchases. As of May 2022, it is at 44 per cent.
The data regarding major purchases displays a similar trend, reaching 40 per cent for this month, a slow increase from its lowest figure of 20 per cent in June last year.
Ipsos Malaysia says that: "Comfort with both household and major purchases are at its highest level in a year.”
Just last month, MIDF Research increased its Consumer Price Index (CPI) forecast to 2.5 per cent from 2.1 per cent for the year due to expectations of higher food inflation following rising global commodity prices.
Bank Negara Malaysia said in a statement on May 11 that: "Headline inflation is projected to average between 2.2 per cent - 3.2per cent in 2022".
Given the improvement in economic activity amid lingering cost pressures, underlying inflation, as measured by core inflation, is expected to trend higher to average between 2.0 per cent - 3.0 per cent in 2022.
Nevertheless, upward pressure on prices would be partly contained by existing price controls and the continued spare capacity in the economy.
The inflation outlook continues to be subject to global commodity price developments, arising mainly from the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine and prolonged supply-related disruptions, as well as domestic policy measures on administered prices.”