Economy and security still main concern of Malaysians – By Debra Chong

The Malaysian Insider | KUALA LUMPUR, 01-June-2009 – Bread and butter plus security issues are at the top of Malaysian minds, the first public opinion poll conducted since Datuk Seri Najib Razak took over as prime minister two months ago revealed.

Independent pollster Merdeka Centre carried out a survey last month to track the public’s views on current issues and national leadership. One thousand and sixty-seven randomly selected registered voters aged 21 and above were interviewed at the height of the Perak political disputes in court and the start of the deadly H1N1 flu outbreak.

Three out of 10 Peninsular Malaysians polled said they were most worried about the way the economy is headed, citing, among others, “unfavourable economic conditions in general”, the climbing prices of goods and the fear of not landing a job.

Their second biggest worry is the growing incidence of social problems among youngsters ranging from the increasingly volatile road bully culture of “Mat Rempits” and moral decline to drug abuse.

This is followed closely by concern over crime and their personal safety while in public areas, brought on by the increased presence of foreign workers.

Interestingly, close to a quarter of those polled expressed optimism that the general economy is getting better with Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, at the helm.

Almost half the people questioned are confident the economy will be on the upswing in one year’s time.