Monday 22 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (May 25): Malaysians’ trust in businesses and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) rose while their trust in the government and media saw a dip, according to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer survey.   

The findings, revealed by Edelman Malaysia on Wednesday, also showed that Malaysia, along with the rest of the world is experiencing a cycle of distrust.

Edelman said Malaysians’ levels of trust in businesses increased by 2 points to 71% while NGOs saw a one-point increase to 70%. On the other hand, trust in the government and media dipped by 3 and 2 points to 62 and 60, respectively.

Business and NGO institutions fall within the trusted region (above 59 points), but government and media are nearing the neutral threshold.

In Malaysia, six in 10 said that their default tendency is to distrust something until they have solid proof that it is trustworthy.

“In line with the global trend, 64% of Malaysians think the country is polarised to the point where people are unable to have constructive and civil debate with their peers who hold opposing views,” according to the statement by Edelman Malaysia.  

Nearly 43% of Malaysians see the government as a dividing force in society, compared to 42% of Malaysians who view the government as a unifying force.

Overall, Malaysia achieved an average Trust Index Score of 66 points, on par with its 2021 score. This positions Malaysia at sixth position among 28 countries on the Global Trust Index, raising its rank by one spot from 2021.

The Edelman Trust Barometer, involving 36,000 respondents globally, is an annual trust and credibility survey conducted by global communications marketing firm, Edelman.

The survey showed that societal fears are also on the rise in Malaysia, with job loss and climate change being cited as the top two societal fears, increasing by 5 points to 94% and 81% respectively.

Malaysians also worry about their freedoms as citizens being eroded, recording a 9-point increase from 2021 to 80% while fears of experiencing prejudice and racism also increased by 11 points to 76%.

“Democracies which previously prided themselves on values such as freedom of speech and expression are now faced with an uphill task of balancing fundamental human rights against societal problems,” said Christopher de Cruz, group director of Edelman Malaysia.

“One example of a persistent problem is that of fake news which has remained a serious concern for a decade now with no clear solution in sight,” he added.

Malaysia now ranked as the second highest, after Spain and alongside Indonesia, among those most concerned about fake news.

Edelman highlighted that 83% of Malaysians were concerned about fake news, which is a seven-point increase from last year’s findings.

The survey also revealed that 30% of Malaysians believed businesses are highly effective agents of positive change while 42% rooted for NGOs.

The survey found that 78% of Malaysians want chief executive officers (CEOs) to be visible when discussing public policy with external stakeholders or on the work their companies have done to benefit society.

They also expect CEOs to help inform and shape conversations and policy debates on a range of issues ranging from jobs and economy, wage inequality, technology to automation, but not on politics.

However, Malaysians said businesses were not doing enough to address societal issues such as economic inequality, systemic injustice and climate change.

“As Malaysians want more leadership from businesses, not less, we need to appreciate the fact that businesses are no longer just profit-driven organisations and their societal role is here to stay.

“They must accept the responsibility of filling the void left by the government. Simply leading a business is not enough, there is an expectation for CEOs and other business leaders to speak on issues that impact the communities they operate in,” said Christopher.

Edited ByJenny Ng
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