Commenting on the results, Ibrahim Suffian, the centre’s director said: “In our opinion, the survey conveys a picture of a Malaysian electorate that was largely affected by rising costs and feeling some levels of distress in spite of the strong macroeconomic growth numbers.
“The survey also indicates between one and two out of every 10 Malaysians are cutting back on essentials, such as food, to make ends meet.”
The survey shows a slight improvement in sentiments compared with January 2017 but some of its key findings include:
* 29% of respondents reporting that they did not possess a minimum of RM500 of savings to address any emergency, compared with 33% in January;
* 64% felt stressed thinking about the future, compared with 68% in January;
* 40% delayed or unable to make payments on utility bills, such as electricity and telephone bills, the same percentage in January;
* 20% took on new debt (in the form of personal loans or charging of credit cards), which is a 2% increase compared with January;
* 15% encountered new conflict with the family or a 2% increase compared with January 2017;
* 15% skipped meals in order to make ends meet – the same in January; and
* 11% who report needing to sell or pawn off possessions in order to meet expenses – this figure is 1% higher compared with January 2017.
The Merdeka Center survey to gauge voters’ perceptions of current developments involved 1,203 registered voters comprising 52% Malay, 29% Chinese, 7% Indian, 6% Muslim Bumiputera, 6% non- Muslim Bumiputera (from Sabah and Sarawak) and interviewed via fixed line and mobile telephones. – November 24, 2017.