PETALING JAYA (June 11): Malaysia is among 12 countries which are most worried about their security based on the 2014 Unisys Security Index.
The Unisys Security Index is a global study conducted to gauge the attitudes and perceptions of consumers on a wide-range of security-related issues.
Such issues were classified into four types namely, national security, financial security, internet security and personal security.
The polls conducted nationally on 946 people from 14 to 27 March, found a staggering jump in overall security index in Malaysia from 160 points in 2008 to 198 points this year, landing the country at second place, just next to Mexico (203) where drug cartels and organised crime is prolific.
Director of Security Programmes at Unisys Asia-Pacific, John Kendall said the global average score stands at 143 and anything exceeding 150 is considered "seriously concerned".
"Because the survey was done right after the disappearance of flight MH370, that could be a contributing factor to the heighten concerns in areas of war or terrorism and personal safety."
Under the "personal security" section which asked respondents how concerned they are about identity theft and personal safety over the next six months, 54% were 'extremely concerned", recording a sharp increase from 27% last year.
82% of Malaysians were also found to be very or extremely worried about serious health epidemics, possibly due to the recent outbreak of dengue fever, said Kendall.
"The results from this survey doesn't tell us what is the reality, but only reflects what people believe. This belief is formed from what they read in the papers, personal experiences or those of their close ones. For instance, If you know someone who's been robbed in the past 12 months, you are probably going to be afraid of your personal safety."
"If the government is making decisions base only on the statistics of reality and the public believes something very different, then there's a mismatch. People would like to see policy makers set priorities according to what they feel is important."
Thus, he added, such survey findings is useful in providing a more balanced view and help organisations determine which areas requires public education or what corrective measures should be in place.
Meanwhile, on a separate survey, the company also found that 77% of Malaysians are willing to provide biometric information such as fingerprints or photographs to allow an automated boarding gate to confirm their identities before they board a flight.
"These findings show that there's a willingness to apply stringent forms of identity verification deeper into the passenger's airport journey to confirm that only approved passengers are boarding flights."
However, only 35% are agreeable in using biometrics data to prove their identities as part of the trusted traveler programme to expedite processing of per-approved, low risk travelers through dedicated lanes and kiosks, Kendall revealed in a press conference today
"Malaysians resistance to a fast-tracked immigration processing lane for frequent travelers may reflect heightened concerns about airport security after the MH370 incident which highligted issues of stolen or false passports as they may see this as relaxing security processes."
The majority of Malaysians were also unwilling to give their biometrics to access customised retail offers in the airport, Kendall said, adding that this could be due to mistrust of the public towards commercial entities in handling their private information.