Scapegoating During COVID-19: Malaysians Fear of COVID-19 and Attributing of Blame Towards Immigrants


  • IJSPS Admin
  • Nurul Miza Mohd Rashid International Islamic University Malaysia


Asylum seekers, COVID-19, Malaysia, Migrant workers, Refugees


There is an increase in scapegoating tendency against selected minorities due to the crisis imposed by the COVID-19 global pandemic. This behavioural pattern was observed between the local Malaysians and immigrants during the pandemic. The present study employed a cross-sectional survey design to examine whether Malaysians' tendency to scapegoat the cause of the virus and its related threats towards immigrants is higher among those with heightened fear against COVID-19. Using an online survey, 256 Malaysian citizens were recruited using convenience sampling (18 to 63 years old, M = 23.28, SD = 4.23). Using Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modelling, the data examined revealed that the model proposed is partially supported. The results of this study may provide insight into the relevance of scapegoating theory in explaining the dynamic between Malaysians and foreign immigrants when there is a sudden and deadly threat present. This paper recommends reducing stigma to maintain intergroup harmony among Malaysian during the pandemic.

Author Biography

Nurul Miza Mohd Rashid, International Islamic University Malaysia

Kulliyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences