MMO - Only 16pc Malaysians trust politicians, survey shows
Thursday, July 05, 2018
KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 ― Politicians are the least trustworthy government institution in the country, a survey of 1,000 Malaysians found.

The February survey by Centre For A Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) released today showed only 16 per cent trusted politicians while the armed forces won the highest level of trust from 60 per cent of Malaysians.

“As a civil society group that advocates transparency and good governance, we are deeply concerned about society’s poor regard for politicians, especially with regard to their trustworthiness,” Cenbet co-president Gan Ping Sieu said in a statement accompanying the survey findings by the non-government organisation that touts itself as promoting good governance and moderation.

According to the survey, honesty and dedication were cited as the most important attributes of a trusted politician. Education and personal wealth were considered the least important qualities.

Apart from politicians, the other key institution that won the least trust from Malaysians were the local mainstream media (MSM) at 23 per cent.

The survey found a higher number of Malaysians trusted the federal government more than they did the MSM, at 29 per cent.

In contrast, 31 per cent of Malaysians said the alternative online media were more trustworthy compared to 23 per cent who trust traditional print publications.

“The main reason for not trusting traditional mainstream media is that ‘newspapers are not free to report without interference’ (64%),” said Cenbet.

“The main criticisms against online media was that they were deemed to be ‘unfair and publish inaccurate / fake news’ (57%), but 75% of those who trusted online news were impressed with its ‘freedom to report without interference from external parties’,” it added.

The survey found 45 per cent of Malaysians trusted the courts, slightly more than they did the police (44 per cent) and quite a fair bit more than municipal councils (38 per cent).

For the police force, Malaysians surveyed cited perceived corruption and lack of professionalism for their distrust. One-third of respondents who distrusted the police believed officers favoured a certain race.

Those who expressed trust in the courts cited a high level of integrity among judges, while others perceived political interference in the judiciary.

Those who distrusted local governments cited inefficient services and perceived corruption as their reasons.

“Cenbet reiterates that restoration of the third vote will narrow the trust deficit in the institution,” said Gan.

Newly appointed Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad told Malay Mail earlier this week that ratepayers in Kuala Lumpur should get increased representation, but restoring local council elections was not the most immediate item on his agenda.

The Malaysian Armed Forces, the only institution trusted by more than half of Malaysians, were perceived to be disciplined and well-trained.

Forty-seven per cent of those who distrusted the Armed Forces believed the military servicemen were not impartial or fair to all.

“When it came to trustworthiness of institutions, the common theme boils down to fairness, integrity and efficiency. Institutions perceived to be fair and efficient score higher in public trustworthiness,” said Gan.

He said Cenbet would present detailed findings to the Committee on Institutional Reforms, a committee formed to advise the government on institutional reforms that need to be carried out.

The Cenbet survey was carried out from February 8 to February 22 this year, when Barisan Nasional was still the federal government.

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