Many Malaysians worried about possibility of ethnic clash in the country: Ipsos Malaysia study

Malaysia is ranked sixth when it comes to fears of ethnic conflict. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Over two-thirds of Malaysians are worried about national unity and safety, particularly the possibility of violent conflict involving ethnic or minority groups, according to a study conducted by Ipsos Malaysia.

Sixty-seven per cent of respondents in the study held the view that such a threat is quite real, compared to the global average of 60 per cent and the 65 per cent of British respondents who worried about ethnic conflict.

The threat is being felt by a growing number of Malaysians, with the percentage of respondents expressing concern rising by 12 per cent since last year.

Malaysia is ranked sixth after South Africa (88 per cent), Turkey (83 per cent), India (79 per cent), the United States (72 per cent) and Colombia (69 per cent) when it comes to fears of ethnic conflict.

However, more than half of Malaysians (61 per cent) are confident that the government and its agencies would provide sufficient security and protection if a violent conflict were to break out in the next 12 months that involves ethnic or minority groups in the country.

Ipsos Malaysia carried out the study from Sept 1 to 30, inviting 1,000 respondents throughout the country to participate in the study.

Only 40 per cent of Malaysians think that the country will achieve the country's Vision 2020, while 22 per cent of Malaysians are unsure or unfamiliar with what Vision 2020 is.

Vision 2020 aimed to make Malaysia a fully developed country by the year 2020.

Nevertheless, 89 per cent of respondents were proud to be Malaysians.

When asked what Malaysia has achieved under Vision 2020, 62 per cent of respondents agreed that Malaysia has successfully fostered and developed a mature democratic society.

This was supported by a World Affairs Study done by Ipsos in November which revealed that 44 per cent of Malaysians agree that the political system in the country does a good job of representing the views and interests of its citizens, which is much higher than the global average of 27 per cent and is just behind China (69 per cent) and India (56 per cent).

The Ipsos Malaysia study further reflected that more than half of respondents agree that Malaysia has successfully established a prosperous society with an economy that is fully competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient (61 per cent), established a scientific and progressive society (55 per cent) and ensured an economically just society, in which there is a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation (54 per cent).

The Ipsos Malaysia study further revealed that 59 per cent of Malaysians do not think that they have reached a high-income nation status, but more than half (58 per cent) believe that Malaysia's overall economy will improve in the next decade.

Another 39 per cent believe that the overall economy would remain at the same level over the next 10 years, while a small minority of 3 per cent felt that the Malaysian economy would worsen by 2030.

The Ipsos World Affairs study revealed that Malaysians are quite positive in their outlook. A total of 90 per cent of Malaysians agree that Malaysia should work towards global goals, even if the country does not always get what it wants.

This was despite current global turmoil such as the US-China trade war and Brexit, which are putting a dampener on the global economic environment.

The optimistic viewpoint of Malaysians has put the country right on top of the table among the nations surveyed and 11 percentage points higher than the global average of 79 per cent.

The Ipsos World Affairs study also revealed that slightly more than half of Malaysians polled (51 per cent) feel that China offers a political and economic model that they would like to emulate, as opposed to the US (35 per cent), higher than the global average of 39 per cent of respondents who felt China is the country to emulate.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.