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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Survey: Perception of China improving in general, but not among Malays


Adult Malaysians view China a bit more favourably this year compared to 2016, according to a survey by Merdeka Center in cooperation with Universiti Malaya's Institute of China Studies.

In a statement, Merdeka Center said the survey, conducted in March, showed 39 percent of respondents viewed China favourably, up from 35 percent when a similar survey was conducted in July 2016.

However, this positive shift was not across the board. The shift was very apparent among Chinese Malaysians with 67 percent viewing China favourably, up from 41 percent in 2016.

Only 28 percent of Malays viewed China favourably, down from 33 percent. The majority of Malay respondents (50 percent) viewed China in a neutral manner.

According to Merdeka Center programmes director Ibrahim Suffian, the improved perception among Malaysians was attributable to China's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Chinese respondents were particularly impressed with how China kept the Covid-19 numbers down, produced vaccines and delivered some assistance to other countries as well as its strong economy," he said when contacted.

Males, those with higher income, those who are older and those with higher education qualifications are also more likely to be favourable to China.

Most respondents (70 percent) believed that Malaysia and China have a good relationship, up from 67 percent in 2016.

When asked which countries helped Malaysia most with the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years, 50 percent of respondents said China, followed by the US (12 percent), Saudi Arabia (six percent), United Kingdom (three percent) and Japan (two percent).

Most respondents (70 percent) also viewed China's investment in Malaysia positively.

However, only 14 percent believed that Malaysia should "participate actively" in China's "Belt and Road" initiative, while 46 percent said Malaysia needs to approach this initiative with caution. - Mkini

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