KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 — Malaysia fell four points in the latest annual Trust Index by global communications firm Edelman — which measures respondents' trust in local institutions to do what is right — but still ranked among the top 10 countries with the highest trust.
The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, released during the World Economic Forum last week, also showed that Malaysia was among the countries with the most significant decline of trust in the government — along with South Korea and Colombia.
"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 decline in trust levels, Malaysia still ranked eighth in the index falling behind China (83 points), Indonesia (75), the United Arab Emirates (74), India (73), Saudi Arabia (71), Singapore and Thailand (66 each), and Kenya (63).
While Malaysia had among the highest fall of trust in the government, 54 per cent of its respondents still trust in the government. In comparison, China had the highest trust at 89 per cent, and Argentina had the lowest at 20 per cent.
This comes as Malaysia had a change in government last year, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim being sworn in on November 24, 2022 to lead a coalition government of Pakatan Harapan (PH), Barisan Nasional, Gabungan Parti Sarawak and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah.
Previously, Malaysia went through two changes in government since the 2018 general election when PH won, with the Perikatan Nasional governments led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and then Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob governing between 2020 and 2022.
Among the institutions, more Malaysians said they trusted local non-governmental organisations (69 per cent) and local businesses (68 per cent).
The media is almost as distrusted by Malaysians as the government, with 55 per cent saying they trusted it.
Furthermore, 80 per cent of Malaysians said they trusted their employer, registering an increase of one point from the previous year.
The fieldwork for 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer was conducted between November 1 and 28 last year with an average of 1,150 respondents for the online survey from each of the 28 countries studied.
According to Edelman, the online survey is conducted every year for the past 23 years. The survey for Malaysia was conducted in the Malay language.