At 77 per cent, Malaysians’ concern about Covid-19 outstrips the global average of 44 per cent, according the latest survey released today by global research and opinion firm Ipsos.
Despite this, 60 per cent out of 500 Malaysians polled feel the country is still heading in the right direction even as the government continues to battle the high number of coronavirus infections, now into its third wave here.
What Ipsos noted though, was that while the majority are still upbeat about the direction, the number had dwindled over the course of the last six months.
In April, public confidence in the country’s direction was 66 per cent. This rose to 75 per cent in July. Since then, confidence appears to have muted, declining to the current level of 60 per cent in October.
The July confidence peak came as the government started easing back on travel restrictions imposed for nearly three months prior starting from March 18 with the nationwide movement control order (MCO).
From July 10, more than just the essential economic sectors were allowed to reopen, enabling Malaysians to engage in more social activities during the recovery phase of the movement control order (RMCO).
Up to July, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had also unveiled several rescue packages under the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package worth RM295 billion.
The Health Ministry confirmed Malaysia’s third wave of Covid-19 in October as daily cases crossed the 1,000-mark.
The spike in cases into the four-digit zone followed the Sabah state election on September 26.
The Ipsos survey polled 28 countries on a monthly basis from April to October on what concerns the residents the most using its online panel.
The company said concern for Covid-19 in Malaysia was highest in April at 85 per cent, and dropped to 57 per cent in July before rising again to 77 per cent last month.
Ipsos noted that Malaysia’s concern about the virus surpassed Great Britain (61 per cent) and the United States (46 per cent), despite their daily infection cases topping Malaysia’s.
The survey also found that unemployment remains a major concern among Malaysians within the six-month period, recorded at 43 per cent in April, peaking to 53 per cent in July, and dipping down to 48 per cent in October.
For Malaysians, the second-highest concerns were about financial or political corruption.
Last month, concern about the country’s financial well being among Malaysians stood at 44 per cent, a large increase from April when it was at 30 per cent.
Ipsos is a market research company formed in France in 1975, with presence in 90 markets globally.