• Around 84 per cent of Malaysians polled by Pew Research Center disapproved of US President Joe Biden’s handling of the conflict between Israel and Hamas
  • Of the 34 countries polled, Malaysia ranked third after Tunisia and Turkiye when it comes to dissatisfaction of Biden’s handling of Israel
  • Similarly, Malaysia also ranked third in having an unfavourable view of the US — with 65 per cent of respondents giving the superpower poor marks
  • Malaysians polled were equally doubtful of Biden and his dreadful predecessor Donald Trump

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — A recent survey by Washington-based Pew Research Center found that 84 per cent of Malaysian respondents disapproved of United States President Joe Biden’s handling of Israel’s recent aggression against Gaza.

Its Spring 2024 Global Attitudes Survey also found that among the 34 countries polled, Malaysia ranked third in its disapproval of Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Tunisia and Turkiye were the two countries which ranked higher.

“Disapproval rates are particularly high in some countries where a large majority of the population is Muslim, specifically Malaysia, Tunisia and Turkey. In Bangladesh, public opinion is divided on this issue,” said the report released last night.


In a statement accompanying the report, Pew Research said on Biden’s handling of five major international issues, he received his most negative reviews on the Israel issue.

“A median of 57 per cent across 34 nations disapprove of the way Biden is handling the Israel-Hamas war. In nearly every country surveyed, fewer than half approve of the way he has been dealing with the Israel-Hamas war,” it said, adding that the only exception is in Kenya, where his handling was seen in a positive light.

It however noted that the survey was conducted prior to Biden’s proposal to end the conflict by suggesting a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages last month.


Not just Biden, Malaysians look down on the US too

The survey also showed that 65 per cent of Malaysian respondents viewed the US unfavourably, compared to 35 per cent who viewed the superpower favourably.

This was a fall from the last survey done in 2022, when 43 per cent of Malaysian respondents had viewed the US favourably.

Similarly, Malaysia also ranked third among all countries surveyed on this matter — also behind Tunisia and Turkiye.

Among its Asia-Pacific neighbours, Malaysia also held the biggest proportion of those who viewed the US unfavourably, followed by Australia and Singapore.

Malaysian respondents also viewed Biden and his controversial predecessor Donald Trump with equal disdain. Just 30 per cent felt confident that Biden would do the right thing on world affairs, compared to 33 per cent on Trump.

The survey by the US-based non-partisan think tank was carried out from January 5 until May 21 this year involving a nationally-representative pool of 40,566 people in 34 countries, not including the US.

In Malaysia, the survey was conducted through the telephone.

This Pew Research Center analysis was focused on the public opinion of Biden and the other world leaders and explored respondents’ opinion on the US president’s handling of international issues.

Last week, Malaysia called on the concerned parties to accept and work towards the full implementation of a recent proposal by Biden to end Israeli atrocities in Gaza.

The Foreign Ministry in a statement said the proposal is the best way forward to end the ongoing catastrophe in Gaza and full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian Territory.

This article is part of a series of stories based on Pew Research Center’s Spring 2024 Global Attitudes Survey. The second article will have a look at Malaysians’ views on Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.