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Post GE: Malaysians more concerned about unemployment, job quality

Post the Malaysian General Elections 2018, citizens showed a 34 percentage points increase in confidence that the country is on the right direction - the highest jump ever recorded post any national elections in 2018, a study by Ipsos revealed.

The first 100 days were critical for the new government, Pakatan Harapan (PH) to deliver on several of their promises. Even as the positivity adjusted to the everyday realities, calibrating down by 9 points from June, 66% of Malaysians (66%) remain as confident, agreeing that the country is heading in the right direction.

Tracking sentiments of Malaysians before GE 2018, immediately after GE 2018, and 100 days on, Ipsos asked Malaysians what their top concerns were among a series of current issues. This follow-up study titled "What Worries Malaysia - Post GE 2018" revealed financial/political corruption persists as the top worry for 60% of Malaysians followed by unemployment and quality of jobs (43%), and crime and violence (41%).

Interestingly, while worries about corruption dropped slightly from 66% in April to 60% in July, concerns about unemployment and jobs increased by 10 percentage points over the same period (from 33% to 43%). Similarly, Malaysians have become more worried about crime and violence - up from 33% in April to 41% in July.

The study noted worries about inflation (16%) and taxes (14%) has dropped significantly, by 8% and 14% respectively, given the government’s implemented measures on GST and taxes.

Commenting on the findings, Arun Menon, managing director of Ipsos in Malaysia, said: "High positive sentiment translates to a resurgent confidence among Malaysians that they are capable to draw their own future. For the new PH government, this offers a challenge as they face an all-time high expectation from the public. Further, there is a need for better accountability and scrutiny of their actions.

"Calibration of sentiment is natural, and it shows that the government is heading in the right direction. The sentiment is supported by the government measures taken to clamp down on corruption and taxes. After the first 100 days, we should expect to see the focus shift to day-to-day realities like jobs and security."

Running in parallel to “What Worries Malaysia”, was the global study “What Worries the World” conducted across 27 other participating countries. The countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.

Four major worries for global citizens the study uncovered were:

1. Unemployment (33%)

Italy (66%) and South Korea (64%) are the most worried nations about this issue followed by Spain (58%). Russia (41%) has seen the largest increase in concern with a rise of 11 percentage points from the previous month (30%). As with the previous month – Germany (9%) and Israel (12%) are the two least apprehensive countries about unemployment.

2. Poverty / social inequality (33%)

The topmost levels of concern are in Russia (64%), Hungary (57%) and Serbia (54%). As well as being most troubled nation about this issue, Russia is the country with the biggest increase in concern from the previous month, with a rise of 7 percentage points from the previous month (57%). Turkey (22%) is now the least worried nation, displacing the US (23%) who had been the least anxious nation for the entirety of 2017 and all of 2018 until this month.

3. Crime / Violence (32%)

The highest levels of concerns are seen within the South and Central Americans regions – Peruvians (67%) and Mexican (63%) and Chileans (59%) are the most anxious about this matter. Concern about this topic is lowest in Russia (5%), Hungary (11%) and Saudi Arabia (12).

4. Financial/ Political corruption (24%)

The peak levels of this concern are in Peru (62%) and Malaysia (60%) followed by South Africa (55%) then Spain (54%). Worry about corruption is lowest in Sweden (6%), Germany (10%) and Britain (11%).

Infographics / Ipsos

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