KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 17): A country is like an old house. Over time, there are bound to be things that need to be fixed or upgraded. And in the house of Malaysia, there are things that need to be improved upon.
So, The Edge ran a large online survey to get a sense of what Malaysians feel are the most pressing problems as well as the solutions they want.
In its Special Bumper Issue, the weekly’s Chua Sue Ann in its cover story compiled the findings of the survey of what readers thought ailed the nation and how best to fix things.
First, here are the parameters and limitations of the online survey, which was hosted on a SurveyMonkey platform. SurveyMonkey is a widely-used cloud-based survey software firm based in the US with some 25 million users.
The survey was conducted in three languages — English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese. It was disseminated online (via social media, messaging apps and theedgemarkets.com) as well as The Edge and The Edge Financial Daily.
The survey comprised three questions on demographics and nine questions on issues and solutions. All responses were confidential and did not capture any personal data — be it name, email address or IP address.
The survey ran from Nov 15 to Dec 6. During the three-week period, the Bersih 5 rally and the Umno general assembly were held and there was news flow on the victory of US President-elect Donald Trump, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s visit to China and the weakening ringgit. These may or may not have directly impacted sentiment.
The Edge collected responses from 21,439 people, which exceeded expectations. There was a big spike in responses in early December.
The survey was designed in a such a manner that it did not allow people to take the same survey twice from the same device.
The weekly also combed through the dataset to check for duplicates.
A limitation of this survey is the skew towards urban areas. While there were respondents from all states, 69.3% of them said they were in Kuala Lumpur or Selangor. This broadly reflected the reader base.
Another limitation is the under-representation of Malays, who make up 50.7% of the population. About 20.4% of the respondents identified themselves as being Malay. Over half, or 55.1% of the respondents, identified themselves as being of Chinese descent.
The Chinese make up about 25% of the broader population.
About 53.7% of the respondents said they were aged 46 and above. The sample also comprised of those age between 18 and 35 (24.81%) and 36 to 45 (20.96%).
With these limitations in mind, the Edge sliced the data by major ethnic and age groups to see whether there were key differences in opinions. We hoped that this would give us a more nuanced look at how people from different backgrounds think about national issues.
The key takeaways
On the whole, corruption and poor governance are the two most urgent problems that Malaysia needs to fix. These two issues topped the list for all the ethnic groups as well as the age groups we looked at, namely the 18-to-24 and the 46-to-60.
Several solutions emerged. About 80% of respondents across the board want the government to spend prudently and minimise wastage and leakages. The same number of respondents want a stronger ringgit and purchasing power as a way to ease cost-of-living burdens. Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) handouts are wholly unpopular, with only about 3.4% of respondents choosing it as a solution.
For details of the survey and how best to fix the nation, get a copy of the Special Bumper Issue for week of Dec 19 – Dec 25 available at newsstands now.