Survey: Growth figures belie belt-tightening | 24-Nov-2017 – A survey of 1,203 voters has suggested that Malaysians are experiencing economic distress amidst strong macroeconomic growth numbers.

“The survey also indicates that between one to two out of every 10 Malaysians are cutting back on essentials, such as food, in order to make ends meet,” Merdeka Center said in a statement today.

However, survey found that there were slight improvements, based on seven economic stress indicators, since a similar survey was conducted in January.

Fifteen percent of the respondents said they skipped meals to make ends meet, up two percent from January.

One in five respondents said they have taken on new debts in the form of personal loans or charging of credit cards while 11 percent they had to pawn off their possessions.

“Fifteen percent of the respondents reported having encountered new conflicts with the family, a two percent increase compared to January 2017,” said the pollster.

Meanwhile, 29 percent of respondents did not have RM500 in emergency funds, down 33 percent from the previous survey.

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents “felt stressed” when thinking about the future, while 40 percent said they had problems paying their utility bills on time.

Overall, Merdeka Center said, the data showed that economic issues – rising cost of living, economic hardship and jobs, among others – were the topmost concern for 72 percent of the voters surveyed.

The internally-funded survey was conducted between Nov 4 and 14.

The 1,203 respondents were selected on the basis of random stratified sampling, with age, ethnicity, gender and locality also taken into account.