PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are more concerned about the rising cost of living than a potential "green wave" or the rise of extremism, says the Institute of Strategic Analysis and Policy Research (Insap).
The think tank said the ability to sustain themselves amidst stagnant incomes and escalating expenses has become the top concern among most Malaysians as price hikes for goods and food are expected in the coming months.
“Business owners have highlighted a decline in retail transactions and footfall, raising concerns about their ability to make enough money to service loans and pay employee wages as the majority of local customers are now reducing their spending.
“The gradual transfer of increased electricity tariffs from businesses to consumers is also underway, prompting warnings from retailers and wholesalers about price hikes for goods and food in the upcoming months,” it said in a statement on Wednesday (Aug 2).
This was reflected in a recent survey by the think tank involving 292 respondents from Selangor and Negri Sembilan, with over 80% demanding that measures to reduce the cost of living be implemented immediately.
It found that economic reform is the second largest concern among the people with over 65% of respondents placing it as their second priority.
The think tank noted that this growing concern has caused a lot of Malaysians to lose hope in a promised positive economic revival, especially those in the Malay community.
“While the survey indicated that a majority of over 59% of respondents were satisfied with the current administration, satisfaction among Malay respondents in particular is significantly lower than with Chinese and Indian respondents," said Insap.
It added that only 35% of Malay respondents expressed contentment with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's governance and economic management, while 40% expressed dissatisfaction.
“This is due to Insufficient government involvement in current mainstream issues such as cost of living, which has exacerbated the adverse impact on the economy," said Insap.
“The growing frustration among the populace is evident as more individuals highlight the negative impact of rising commodity prices, interest rate hikes and a lack of clear guidance on resolving fundamental issues faced by ordinary citizens,” the think tank added.