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Malaysians Worried About Rising Cost of Living: Research


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A recent survey by the Institute of Strategic Analysis and Policy Research (Insap) reveals that Malaysians are more concerned about the increasing cost of living than issues like a “green wave” or the rise of extremism. Stagnant incomes and escalating expenses have become a top concern for most Malaysians, as they anticipate price hikes for goods and food in the coming months. Business owners are also facing challenges with declining retail transactions and footfall, impacting their ability to meet loan obligations and pay employee wages. This article explores the survey findings and highlights the growing concern among Malaysians regarding the cost of living and its impact on economic reform and public satisfaction with the current administration.


Rising Cost of Living: Top Concern for Malaysians


According to the survey conducted by Insap, the rising cost of living has emerged as the primary concern for Malaysians. As the prices of essential goods and food items continue to increase, citizens are worried about their ability to sustain themselves financially. Many are grappling with stagnant incomes while facing mounting expenses, making it difficult to make ends meet. The impending transfer of increased electricity tariffs from businesses to consumers is also raising alarms among retailers and wholesalers, who anticipate further price hikes for goods and food in the near future.


Economic Reform: Second Largest Concern


Following the cost of living, economic reform is the second-largest concern among Malaysians, with over 65% of respondents ranking it as their second priority. The survey reflects the growing anxiety among Malaysians regarding the country’s economic revival. Disappointment with the lack of significant progress in this area is particularly evident within the Malay community. While a majority of respondents are satisfied with the current administration, satisfaction among Malay respondents is considerably lower compared to Chinese and Indian respondents.


Challenges Faced by the Government


Insap’s survey points to key challenges faced by the Malaysian government in addressing public concerns. Only 35% of Malay respondents expressed contentment with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s governance and economic management, while 40% expressed dissatisfaction. One major reason for this disparity is the perceived insufficient government involvement in tackling mainstream issues, particularly the soaring cost of living. The lack of clear guidance in resolving fundamental issues faced by ordinary citizens has led to growing frustration among the populace.


Impact on Public Perception and Economic Outlook

The survey indicates that the negative impact of rising commodity prices, interest rate hikes, and lack of clarity on resolving core issues has significantly affected public perception. Malaysians are increasingly losing hope in the promised positive economic revival. As the majority of local customers cut back on spending, business owners are experiencing reduced retail transactions and footfall, leading to concerns about loan repayments and employee wages. Addressing the cost of living and implementing measures to reduce economic burdens has become paramount for the government to restore public confidence and stimulate economic growth.



The Insap survey highlights the pressing concerns of Malaysians about the rising cost of living and its implications for the country’s economic outlook. With stagnant incomes and escalating expenses, citizens are urging the government to take immediate measures to alleviate their financial burdens.

Economic reform is another crucial area demanding attention, as Malaysians seek tangible progress in the nation’s economic revival. Addressing these concerns and providing clear guidance on resolving fundamental issues will be essential for the government to restore public satisfaction and foster economic stability and growth in the country.

Zain Saleem
Zain Saleem
Zain Saleem is an Islamabad-based Senior Journalist

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