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Global Shapers Survey 2017 finds that young Malaysian adults are overwhelmingly concerned about government accountability and transparency.

PETALING JAYA: An international survey on what concerns millennials the most has revealed that the issue of government accountability and transparency is the most serious to affect Malaysia today.

Millennials are classified as 21st century young adults.

Malaysians interviewed in the Global Shapers Survey 2017 said this issue, specified by the survey as related to corruption, was the most pressing matter faced by the nation with a priority level of 81.9%.

It was followed in order of seriousness by concerns on lack of political freedom or political instability (46.9%), inequality in terms of income and discrimination (38.2%), and the lack of economic opportunity and employment (29.9%).

The study, compiled by the Global Shapers Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF), involved 627 Malaysian respondents between the ages of 18 and 35.

In total, the survey covered 31,495 individuals who responded from 186 countries and territories around the world.

The country data on Malaysia also showed 44.4% of respondents considered free media or social media as the most important factor in contributing to youth empowerment, followed by start-up ecosystems and entrepreneurship (39.4%), and access to the Internet (39.1%).

When asked about the most important things missing in Malaysian society that would make one feel more free, 50% of the respondents cited equal access to opportunities for all.

The second most important was the ability to live without fear (35.1%), followed by the ability to protest against authority (27.8%), the ability to choose their leaders (25.5%) and the ability to speak one’s mind (25.1%).

A vast majority or 87.2% also said they would be willing to live outside Malaysia in order to find a job or advance their career, while 12.8% said they would not.

The most popular countries to live in were Australia, UK, USA, Canada, Singapore, Japan and New Zealand.

Also, education was deemed to be the sector that would benefit most from the adoption of the latest technologies (priority level of 19.2%), followed by healthcare (15.4%), manufacturing (15.4%), infrastructure development (13%) and energy (9%).

At the global level, climate change and large-scale conflicts were regarded as real global concerns among the majority of respondents from all countries.

“Climate change/destruction of nature” was ranked as the most serious with 48.8% of the votes. “Large-scale conflict/wars” and “inequality (income, discrimination)” were ranked second and third respectively with 38.9% and 30.8%.

Generally, the most pressing issues of concern in their own countries was “government accountability and transparency/corruption” which was ranked top with 46.9% of votes globally. It was followed by “inequality” (38.1%) and “lack of economic opportunity/employment” (30.5%).

Renard Siew, curator of the Global Shapers’ Kuala Lumpur Hub, said in the report that the survey was a “fantastic tool” to get a pulse on some of the challenges faced by the youths of today.

“As a survey affiliate, we’ve attempted to reach out to as many youth groups in Malaysia representing a diversity of interests from gender diversity to climate change,” he said.

“The feedback from the survey has been extremely positive, with many participants saying that the survey design provided freedom for expressing their many different views.”

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