Malaysia’s Most Admired

Malaysia’s Most Admired

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammed remains Malaysia’s most admired man

Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammed has again topped the list as Malaysia’s most admired man, according to YouGov’s annual study of which public figures people look up to.

Following Tun Dr. Mahathir is Dato’ Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, the first Malaysian astronaut in second place. Another notable Malaysian name in the top ten is Datuk Lee Chong Wei, recently retired Olympic badminton player in sixth place.

Technology billionaire entrepreneurs make up a significant part of the list. Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates comes in fourth place, followed closely by Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma in fifth. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg completes the list of tech entrepreneurs, coming in ninth place.

Politicians also fare well in the top ten. Former United States President Barack Obama is in eighth and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in tenth.

The top ten list of most admired men is completed with Hong Kong martial arts actor Jackie Chan in third and Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo in seventh.

Singer Dato’ Sri Siti Nurhaliza is Malaysia’s most admired woman for the second year running. She is followed by wife of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali in second place. Malaysia’s first female Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail comes in third place. The list of Malaysian females is completed with fashion entrepreneur Datin Vivy Yusof in seventh place.

Entertainers have a strong presence in the top ten. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey comes in fourth, followed by Hollywood actresses Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson in fifth and sixth respectively. American singer Taylor Swift comes in tenth.

The list is rounded up with former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama in eighth, and Queen Elizabeth II in ninth.

***Results based on 1,075 Malaysians surveyed by YouGov Omnibus



In December YouGov gathered open-ended nominations from panellists across 41 countries, asking them simply: “Thinking about people alive in the world today, which [man or woman] do you most admire?” These nominations were then used to compile a list of the 20 men and 20 women who received the most nominations and were nominated in at least four countries. An additional 10 popular local figures were added to the lists for individual countries. 

In January we then used the lists to poll each of the 41 countries asking two questions: “who do you truly admire?”, where respondents could make multiple selections, and “who do you MOST admire?”, where they could only pick one. These two numbers were combined into a percentage share of admiration, displayed to the right of each name in the graphic above and table below, which shows the full results for every country including local celebrities and public figures:

Numbers show the percentage share of admiration for each person in 41 countries worldwide

Choose a country to see the most admired people worldwide



By asking respondents two questions, we can understand both the breadth (i.e. global reach) and the intensity of a person's support.

Altogether, we polled in countries that constitute more than two-thirds of the world's population. However, some parts of the world were better represented than others, so we weighted up the impact certain countries had on the final scores and weighted down others so the global scores more accurately reflect the breakdown of sentiment in the world overall.

All of the surveys were conducted online, and in many of the countries the internet penetration is low to the point where the sample can only be said to be representative to the online population. The countries where the online population is lower than 60% of the total are China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa and Thailand.