KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — Two-thirds of Malaysians polled believe the country is on the right track five months after the 15th general election (GE15), according to a new survey by international market research firm Ipsos.
According to its latest study titled "What Worries Malaysia" released today, Ipsos found that public sentiments towards the country began to shift positively after the election in November last year and reached an all-time high in January 2023.
“As seen in national elections worldwide, public sentiment peaks post-government changes and slips to a new normal.
“After five months with the new government, two third of Malaysians believe the country is on the right track,” said Ipsos Malaysia managing director Arun Meron and Ipsos Public Affairs research manager Iris Ng in the accompanying press release.
The GE15 saw the formation of an unlikely political alliance between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN), with the former's chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim named prime minister.
The survey also found that inflation is no longer the top concern among Malaysian respondents with just 36 per cent saying it is their top worry, down from the peak in January 2023 at 43 per cent.
“[The first quarter of 2023] has seen the economic landscape readjust to post-Covid and post-election reality. Covid-19 concern has receded while corruption, inflation and unemployment/jobs have taken over as the main worries of Malaysia,” Meron and Ng said in the report.
The worry over inflation has been replaced by corruption, with 51 per cent of respondents listing it as their top worry — a climb from 43 per cent in January 2023. This was followed by unemployment and job concerns (35 per cent).
The survey also found that Malaysians are less comfortable with making purchases now, where only 47 per cent of the 500 respondents were comfortable with making household purchases and 43 per cent with major purchases — a downward trend from January 2023.
“Pressured by inflation, economic confidence and consumer purchase intent are slipping from the post-election sentiment lift,” they said.
In comparison, a similar Ipsos survey released in August last year showed that Malaysians’ fear of inflation and poverty had surpassed their concern about the lingering Covid-19 pandemic.
This comes as the Anwar administration pledged to address issues surrounding the rising cost of living as its main focus.
As part of the government's plans to reduce the cost of living among the low-income group, the Payung Rahmah initiative was launched in January 2023, which includes the widely-publicised Menu Rahmah initiative, the Rahmah package, and the Rahmah sales among others.
The Ipsos survey is conducted monthly in 32 countries via an online portal system, with 500 Malaysians surveyed each time.