More Malaysians were losing confidence in the country’s trajectory and increasingly unhappy with its political leaders, according to a recent poll.
The survey by International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Centre for Insights in Survey Research (CISR) titled Public Opinion Poll: Residents of Malaysia found that 64 per cent of Malaysians feel that Malaysia is going in the right direction, down from 83 per cent in 2020.
“Although a strong majority of people still believe Malaysia is moving in the right direction, confidence is clearly eroding.
“It’s obvious that the instability in national politics that we’ve seen since 2020 has dampened enthusiasm for the future,” said Johanna Kao, regional director for the Asia Pacific at IRI.
The survey showed that when asked about satisfaction with democracy in the country, only 17 per cent of Malaysians are very satisfied and 44 per cent were somewhat.
This is a drop from 2020, when 29 per cent of the respondents said they were very satisfied with the current state of democracy in Malaysia.
The report also showed that Malaysians are becoming more pessimistic with political leaders, with 50 per cent now wanting to see new political parties in future elections up from the 46 per cent the previous poll done by IRI in October 2021.
“Malaysian youth are particularly dismayed. Those in the 18 to 35 age group who say the country is heading in the right direction plummeted 23 percentage points since June 2020: from 91 per cent to 68 per cent.
“Similarly, youth who are ‘very satisfied’ with the way democracy is developing dropped 13 points since June 2020, from 24 per cent to 11 per cent,” she said.
In terms of prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Cabinet approval rating, the survey showed only 17 per cent of the respondents fully approve, while 45 per cent somewhat approve of the government.
There were also 13 per cent of the respondents who completely disapprove of the prime minister, while 22 per cent partially disapprove of him and his cabinet.
Trust in the government since the Covid-19 pandemic began has also dropped since 2021, with only 10 per cent of the respondents saying they fully trust the government, dropping from 13 per cent.
“Our data reveals that more people are becoming frustrated with the current political environment. Key reforms must be implemented soon if we are going to see a reversal to these downward trends.
“Additionally, 73 per cent of Malaysians want to see party hopping a controversial practice among elected officials who leave one party for another that has contributed to political uncertainty in recent years addressed with new legislation,” said Kao.
This survey was conducted across Malaysia from March 7 to 24, and is a nationally representative sample of 1,207 mobile phone owning Malaysian citizens aged 18 and older.