For Malaysians, main concern still economy but racial, religious concerns growing

Ida Lim
A survey showed that Malaysian voters’ top concern after about 100 days of Pakatan Harapan in government is still the economy, but worries over race and religious matters have almost doubled. ― Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 — Malaysian voters’ top concern after about 100 days of Pakatan Harapan (PH) in government is still the economy, but worries over race and religious matters have almost doubled, a survey has shown.

Independent pollster Merdeka Center said 64 per cent of the 1,160 voters polled said the state of the economy was their “topmost concern”, with living costs also still a key concern despite a slight decrease in those indicating so.

“When asked to respond from a fixed list of issue items, the survey found that concerns over inflation or cost of living though still high at 50 per cent had abated from the 57 per cent recorded in April 2018.

“Meanwhile, concerns over matters related to race and religious rights increased from 12 per cent to 21 per cent during the same period,” Merdeka Center said in a press release on its survey results.

For Malay voters who were surveyed, Merdeka Center noted that about 50 per cent of them were “still satisfied with the PH government’s efforts to ‘protect the interests of their community’, as well as ‘protect the position of Islam’”.

But Merdeka Center also noted the fairly sizeable proportion of Malay voters who were dissatisfied with the PH’s government’s efforts to protect their community’s interest (44 per cent) and to protect Islam’s position (45 per cent).

The survey was conducted over one week during the August 7-August 14 period, which is just slightly before PH’s first 100 days of government this Friday (August 17).