IRI Malaysia Poll Finds Fewer Believe Country is Moving in Right Direction, Diminished Satisfaction with Political Leaders, Desire to Address Party Hopping

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – A nationwide poll by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research (CISR) finds fewer Malaysians believe the country is moving in the right direction, diminished satisfaction with political leaders, and a desire to address party hopping, a practice that has contributed to recent political turbulence. 

When asked about the direction of the country, 64% said Malaysia was moving in the right direction. This represents a drop of 19 percentage points from a previous poll in June 2020.  

“Although a strong majority of people still believe Malaysia is moving in the right direction, confidence is clearly eroding,” said Johanna Kao, Regional Director for the Asia-Pacific at IRI. “It’s obvious that the instability in national politics that we’ve seen since 2020 has dampened enthusiasm for the future.”  

Malaysians are also becoming more pessimistic about their country’s political leaders. Fifty percent of Malaysians would now like to see new political parties in future elections. This is an increase of four percentage points from a poll in October 2021. Further, nearly a quarter of voters say they are motivated to vote in the next election to elect different political leaders, a five-point increase since October 2021.   

Malaysian youth are particularly dismayed. Those in the 18-35 age group who say the country is heading in the right direction plummeted 23 percentage points since June 2020: from 91% to 68%. Similarly, youth who are “very satisfied” with the way democracy is developing dropped 13 points since June 2020, from 24% to 11%.  

“Our data reveals that more people are becoming frustrated with the current political environment,” said Kao. “Key reforms must be implemented soon if we are going to see a reversal to these downward trends.”  

Additionally, 73% of Malaysians want to see party hopping, a controversial practice among elected officials who leave one party for another that has contributed to political uncertainty in recent years, addressed with new legislation. 


The survey was conducted on behalf of the International Republican Institute’s Center for Insights for Survey Research by Central Force with support from Designs, Data, Decisions (D3).  Data collection was conducted across Malaysia from March 7-24, 2022, and is a nationally representative sample of 1,207 mobile phone owning Malaysian citizens aged 18 and older. After the data collection, the sample was post-weighted for state, gender, age, ethnicity, and urbanicity based upon the 2019 estimates of the Malaysia Department of Statistics. The response rate was 18%. The margin of error at the midrange does not exceed 2.8 percentage points with a confidence level of 95%. 

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