In Malaysia, Muslims More Bullish on Economy Than Non-Muslims

Published by GALLUP NEWS SERVICE, by Nicole Naurath, May 17, 2007.

Majorities of both groups are satisfied with their standard of living.

PRINCETON, NJ — In 1971, Malaysia adopted a development model that focused on multi-sector growth and economic equality for its citizens. The New Economic Policy (NEP) included programs specifically intended to improve the economic standing of ethnic Malays and other native peoples. Since all ethnic Malays are constitutionally considered Muslim, these policies have particularly benefited the country’s Muslim population, which represents about 60% of all Malaysian residents. The result of the NEP and subsequent programs has been a strong, export-led economy.

But there is another outcome evident in Malaysians’ perceptions of economic conditions. Seventy percent of the country’s Muslims say the country’s current economic conditions are good; just less than half of non-Muslims (45%) say the same. The gap narrows somewhat when Gallup asks respondents whether their country’s economy is getting better or worse, but it is still significant: 58% of Muslims feel the economy is getting better, compared with 40% of non-Muslims. (full text).

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