Despite positive economic growth, survey shows nearly seven in 10 Malaysians feel the country is in recession

Malay Mail
Malay Mail
  • Ipsos Malaysia found that nearly seven in 10 — 68 per cent — of Malaysians surveyed in May 2024 felt that the country is in recession

  • The feeling ran contrary with the actual economic situation, as the economy had actually grown in the first quarter of 2024

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — Despite reports indicating positive economic growth, a recent survey conducted by Ipsos Malaysia revealed that 68 per cent of Malaysians perceived the country to be in a recession last month.

Titled “What do Malaysians think about our current inflation and economic situation?”, the latest inflation monitor said the feeling of economic downturn has steadily increased from 62 per cent when the survey was last taken in April 2023.

“In 2023, the economy of Malaysia grew steadily by 3.7 per cent, and is expected to keep growing between four per cent and five per cent in 2024, with a moderate inflation rate. In short, the economy appears stable with contained inflation,” said its managing director Arun Menon and research manager for public affairs Atticus Poon in an accompanying statement.

“However, two out of three Malaysians believe the country is in recession. One out of three Malaysians feels that their inflation crisis is worse than in other countries, impacting their personal financial management, and half of Malaysians claim they are just getting by financially.

“Compared to Malaysians, South-east Asian citizens have a more realistic view of their countries’ economic situations,” they added.

The survey showed that Malaysia has the highest recession perception in South-east Asia. In comparison, the feelings of recession among respondents in other countries are as below (May 2024 versus April 2023)

  • Indonesia: 50 per cent, up from 47 per cent

  • Thailand: 66 per cent, down from 72 per cent

  • Singapore: 32 per cent, down from 36 per cent

The perception among Malaysians came despite Bank Negara Malaysia announcing last month that the Malaysian economy expanded at a higher rate of 4.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2024 from 2.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2023, driven by stronger private expenditure and positive turnaround in exports.

The gross domestic product (GDP) also grew by 5.6 per cent when compared to the same period in 2023.

The Ipsos report was based on interviews with over 500 adults aged 18 and above in Malaysia, as well as 24,801 online adults under age 75 across 33 countries, conducted from March 22 to April 5, 2024, underscores the divergence between economic data and public perception.

Ipsos is a leading market research company operating in 90 markets and employing over 18,000 people.

This article is part of a series from Ipsos Malaysia’s “What do Malaysians think about our current inflation and economic situation?” Read the second article here: