The public still apprehensive of new normal

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

MALAYSIANS are still trying to understand the “new normal” — a new lifestyle brought upon by the Covid-19 pandemic — while neighbouring countries have already adapted to their new ways of life.

In a survey released by research firm Ipsos Group SA yesterday, respondents are placed in one of six stages based on how they are adjusting to the pandemic situation in their respective countries.

The findings revealed that Malaysian respondents are in stage three, in which 35% of them are reacting day by day to the new restrictions and establishing new routines due to the pandemic.

It added that more than one-third of Malaysians are still in the “reaction” phase in establishing new routines.

Meanwhile, the survey found that citizens of Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are in stage four, where they have fully adapted to the restrictions and settled into new routines.

Respondents in Vietnam are already in stage six, which means they are treating the pandemic as being something of the past and moving on ahead of the curve in fully adapting to the new normal.

Malaysia has officially entered the Recovery Movement Control Order phase yesterday, with most economic sectors and business activities returning to normalcy by maintaining a few restrictions to prevent further Covid-19 infection.

The survey also found that only 28% of Malaysians have fully adapted to the restrictions and settled into their new routines of living with the pandemic.

Whereas, only 18% of Malaysians said they are seeing signs that things are improving and that some restrictions will soon be relaxed.

The rest of the respondents are still very concerned with the current state of Covid-19, with some saying they are prepared to face new restrictions and stockpiling supplies where needed.

In terms of establishing new routines, 46% of Malaysians are ready to visit friends or family in their homes between May and July, and 41% are comfortable going to a restaurant within the same period.

However, most respondents in the six countries said they will not be travelling to other countries any time this year.

The majority, or 83% of the Malaysian respondents, said they will not travel abroad this year, while 55% said they will not even travel domestically in the same period.

Meanwhile, respondents from Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand said they are ready to travel domestically and use public transportation earliest between May and July.

With that, Ipsos noted that Malaysians are more apprehensive, while other countries have moved on to the adaptation stage.

“Malaysians believe that apart from visiting family, it will take some time for them to take public transportation and travel to another country. There is still reluctance and uncertainty in the air.

“Malaysians need to look at how to embrace the new normal of everyday life, as well as continue to contribute to the economic recovery,” it added.

The survey involved 3,000 people in six Asean countries, with 500 respondents each from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.