Malaysians’ trust in gov’t drops further: Survey

Malaysia dropped four points in Edelman’s latest annual Trust Index, which measures respondents’ trust in local institutions to do the right thing, but remained among the top ten countries with the highest levels of trust.

The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, released last week during the World Economic Forum, also revealed that Malaysia, along with South Korea and Colombia, had experienced the greatest decline in trust in the government.

“Government is now distrusted in 16 of the 28 countries surveyed … Media is distrusted in 15 of 28 countries,” Edelman said in an accompanying press release.

Malaysia scored 62 on the Trust Index this year, after scoring 66 on last year’s index.

Among the 27 countries studied, only Australia (five-point reduction) and South Korea (six-point reduction) had a higher trust fall than Malaysia.

Despite the drop in trust, Malaysia ranked eighth in the index, trailing China (83 points), Indonesia (75), the UAE (74), India (73), Saudi Arabia (71), Singapore and Thailand (66 each), and Kenya (63).

Despite having one of the lowest levels of trust in the government, 54 percent of Malaysians still have faith in the government. In comparison, China had the highest trust at 89 percent, while Argentina had the lowest at 20 percent.

Malaysia’s government underwent a huge transformation last year, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim sworn in on Nov. 24, 2022, to lead a coalition government comprising Pakatan Harapan (PH), Barisan Nasional, Gabungan Parti Sarawak, and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah.

Previously, Malaysia experienced two changes in government following PH’s victory in the 2018 general election, with Perikatan Nasional governments led by Muhyiddin Yassin and then Ismail Sabri Yaakob governing between 2020 and 2022.

Among the institutions, Malaysians said they trusted local non-governmental organizations (69 percent) and local businesses (68 percent) the most.

Malaysians distrust the media almost as much as they distrust the government, with only 55 percent saying they trusted it.

Furthermore, 81 percent of Malaysians said they trusted their employer, a one-point increase from the previous year.

The fieldwork for the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer took place between Nov. 1 and 28, with an average of 1,150 respondents from each of the 28 countries studied.

The online survey has been conducted every year for the past 23 years, according to Edelman. Malaysia’s survey was conducted entirely in Malay.


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