KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has ranked as the seventh most trusted country, according to the 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer – Malaysia Report.

According to the survey, the country recorded a six-point increase from last year to 68 in the overall Trust Index Score, which represents the public’s average per cent trust across non-governmental organisations (NGOs), business, government and media.

This places Malaysia among the top 10 most trusted nations out of the 28 surveyed globally.

Malaysia is placed between neighbouring countries Thailand at sixth with a score of 70, and Singapore at eighth with a score of 67.

The report, which was conducted from Nov 3 to 22 last year and surveyed over 32,000 respondents including more than 1,000 from Malaysia, provided a snapshot of public sentiment on trust, innovation, and governance.

The surge in the statistics reflects growing confidence in the stability and democratic governance under the new unity government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, which saw a 13-point increase in public trust since last year.

Edelman Malaysia chief operating officer Chris de Cruz said there was a positive shift in public perception towards governance and institutional frameworks.

“This increase signals a growing optimism in our ability to navigate economic challenges and foster inclusive growth,” said de Cruz in a statement.

However, businesses have emerged as the most trusted institution, with NGOs and the government following closely.

“Businesses are seen as pivotal in driving societal change as trusted institutions. Malaysians expect CEOs to stand on critical issues, including fair wages, climate change, and economic inequality.

“Businesses that align with public values and actively address societal concerns are more likely to gain public support,” he added.

Besides the quantitative figures, the report also highlighted evident economic worries, with surveys showing Malaysians’ top concerns being slow economic growth, societal divisions, and misinformation.

Additionally, 97% of employed Malaysians worry about job loss, with climate change (85% of the general population) and the increase of information warfare (73%) adding to their anxieties.

The survey also highlighted that 63% of Malaysians feel government regulators lack the understanding to govern emerging technologies effectively while 33% believe innovation needs to be better managed.

The 2024 Edelman Malaysia Trust Barometer was launched on June 26 in Kuala Lumpur through a panel discussion featuring prominent leaders and experts.

The other countries in the Trust Index ahead of Malaysia include China, India, UAE, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia.