Economy, not 1MDB, is main worry of Malaysian youth: Poll

KUALA LUMPUR • What 1MDB scandal? More Malaysians aged between 21 and 30 worry about inflation, weak economic conditions and getting a job than about the scandal revolving around the state fund that is being played up by politicians, a survey by the Merdeka Centre has found.

The polling was carried out via phone last month with a sample size of 604 in Peninsular Malaysia.

Only 30 per cent of these young people cared about politics.

Governments in half a dozen countries, including Singapore, are probing the disappearance of at least US$4.5 billion (S$6 billion) of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds, but the youth in the country are more worried about bread-and-butter issues.

The survey found 74.2 per cent of youth saying the economy was their main concern, and only 2.3 per cent felt corruption was a key concern, according to the Malay Mail Online and Free Malaysia Today news sites, which ran details of the phone polling yesterday.

When asked what were their chief worries, some 51 per cent pointed to inflation, followed by corruption (34 per cent).

Fewer than 10 per cent of them saw the 1MDB scandal, allegations against the integrity of Prime Minister Najib Razak and worsening race relations as top issues - at 6, 5 and 5 per cent, respectively - the websites reported.

Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaacob said at a Kuala Lumpur function yesterday that the rising cost of living, unemployment among graduates and affordable housing are the key concerns of the people, according to The Star newspaper on its website.

"The 1MDB issue and the issue of the RM2.6 billion (S$840 million) mean nothing to them," he said, referring to the huge sum of alleged 1MDB money found in the personal bank account of Datuk Seri Najib in 2013.

Datuk Seri Adnan said he is aware that the opposition is exploiting the 1MDB issue and also the 6 per cent goods and services tax that has been blamed for the spike in inflation since it was introduced in April 2015.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2017, with the headline 'Economy, not 1MDB, is main worry of Malaysian youth: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe