Over half of Malaysians surveyed say govt handled Covid-19 poorly

Just 10.4 per cent of respondents rated the response as "well" and 22.2 per cent said it was "adequate" in 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The government's handling of the Covid-19 crisis was rated negatively by Malaysians in a recent regional survey, with 51.8 per cent labelling its response as "poor" or "very poor".

The perception of the government's response also deteriorated sharply, with 24.4 per cent of respondents rating it "very poor" for the 2022 report by the Singapore-based Asean Studies Centre at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, compared with 0.9 per cent in the 2021 report.

In comparison, just 10.4 per cent of respondents rated the response as "well" and 22.2 per cent said it was "adequate" in 2022.

These were also a decline compared with the result in 2021, when there had been 14.5 per cent for "well" and 40.2 per cent for "adequate".

Regionally, the survey showed that Bruneians were almost unanimous in their support of their government's handling of the pandemic, with 98.1 per cent rating their government as doing "well" or "adequate", followed by Singaporeans at 87.8 per cent with the same sentiments.

"The share of respondents who said that their governments performed very poorly more than doubled from 7.1 per cent to 15.9 per cent. Those who felt that their governments performed well or adequately dropped by 10 percentage points from 61 per cent to 51 per cent.

"The share of fence sitters who were neutral about their government's handling of the pandemic saw a slight increase from 15.2 per cent to 18.4 per cent," the survey report said.

Daily Covid-19 cases for Malaysia previously peaked on Aug 26 last year, with the Health Ministry announcing that the country detected 24,599 new cases in a single day.

This was eclipsed on Wednesday (Feb 16) when Malaysia reported 27,831 new infections.

The Malaysian government had declared a state of emergency on Jan 12 last year to curb the spread of Covid-19. This lasted until Aug 1. Such a measure under the federal Constitution has not been used for several decades.

The survey, conducted between Nov 11 and Dec 31, 2021, had involved 1,677 respondents, with 8.1 per cent of them from Malaysia. Most of the respondents were academics from think-tanks or research institutions.

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