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Malaysians see China as biggest ally, says survey

Publication Date : 17-07-2014


In terms of regional security, a number of Malaysians see China as the country’s greatest ally, a new survey has found.

Findings by the Pew Research Centre in its Spring 2014 Global Attitudes survey show that Malaysians shared this sentiment with Pakistan, contrasting with many Asian nations.

“Pakistanis, Chinese and Malaysians name the US as the biggest threat to their country. Outside of (these), every Asian nation surveyed considers the US its top ally,” the report read.

Data revealed that 27 per cent of Malaysians polled by the Washington-based think tank said Malaysia could rely on China as its most dependable ally in the future, though 19 per cent said the same of the US.

At the same time, 26 per cent of people here saw the US as its greatest threat in the future with only 5 per cent saying the same of China.

The findings were part of a report entitled “Global Opposition to US surveillance and drones, but limited harm to America’s image”.

Some 48,643 people aged 18 and above were interviewed in 44 countries, including 1,010 people in Malaysia.

The report added that 74 per cent of Malaysians polled in the survey had favourable views of China; a view shared by many predominant Muslim nations in Asia.

At the same time, 69 per cent of people here felt that China’s growing economy was a boon to Malaysia.

However, 66 per cent of Malaysians were concerned about China’s recent territorial disputes with other nations in the South China Sea, with fears of a future military conflict there on the rise.

Though 40 per cent of Malaysians still saw the US as the world’s leading economy, 31 per cent felt that China was in the lead.

When it came to defining who was the greatest superpower, 38 per cent felt that China will or has overtaken the US in this area, though 29 per cent didn’t share this sentiment.

When it came to international relations, 54 per cent of Malaysians were confident in Chinese president Xi Jinping’s ability to “do the right thing” in world affairs.

There was also public opposition towards US spying on local activites, with only 43 per cent of Malaysians saying that it is okay for the US to monitor suspected terrorists.

About 80 per cent of Malaysians also disapproved of the US’s use of drones to target extremists in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.


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