PETALING JAYA: It may seem like a mad, mad world right now – with uncertainties in the global political and economic scenes spilling over into our country – but Malaysians are generally contented with their well-being, according to a survey by the International Islamic University Malaysia.
What many are most concerned about is their material lot, said Prof Datuk Seri Dr Syed Arabi Idid who led the public opinion study on current issues from March to April.
“Overall, Malaysians are contented with their well-being, with 78% satisfied in their relationships with other people and 74% satisfied with their health,” he said.
However, this is a drop from 2015 due to various factors, including the fall in global oil prices last year which had impacted not only the people’s livelihood but also their mood and outlook, he noted.
It is the rice bowl issues that Malaysians are concerned about, such as household income, housing, employment and personal safety.
But with the Government’s initiatives to address the people’s concerns about housing and livelihood starting to bear fruit, there’s improvement in the people’s well-being, he said.
A portion of all three major ethnic communities reported dissatisfaction with their employment situation and household income.
The number of Malays dissatisfied with their household income is lower than that of the other races at 36% – compared to 45% among the Chinese and 49% among the Indians.
Similarly, only 27% of the Malay respondents were dissatisfied with their job situation, compared to 39% of both Chinese and Indians.
“One reason is that many Malays still live in the Malay heartland or the rural area, so the high cost of living is not hitting them too badly. It is the urban folk who are feeling the pinch,” he said.
Dr Syed Arabi said the Indian community scored low in the satisfaction level overall, due to the economic problems many were facing after being relocated from the estates.
“Hopefully, the recently launched Malaysian Indian Blueprint can help address some of the issues affecting the community,” he said.
Interestingly, despite concerns over cost of living, many were still eating out, with 57% reporting that they had eaten at a Malay stall, and 44% opting for fast food, when asked if they had “eaten at a restaurant last week”.
The public study polled some 1,326 people nationwide, aged 21 to more than 51, and were randomly sampled based on age, gender, race and whether they are registered voters in the location.