Malaysians tend to believe information shown on online search engines the most, followed by traditional and social media, according to Edelman Trust Barometer 2013 survey.
"This shows there is an urgent need for all organisations to fully update and utilise their corporate assets such as web portals, newsletters and even YouTube and Twitter accounts to disseminate information," said Edelman Southeast Asia managing director, Bob Grove.
While overall trust scores were generally higher in the survey, trust is lacking between key institutions and leadership, pointing to a potential leadership crisis, he added.
The findings showed only 26 per cent of those who responded to the survey trust business leaders to tell the truth.
Mirroring this, only 21 per cent of the respondents believe government leaders to tell the truth.
Edelman Malaysia managing director Raymond Siva said the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer findings, demonstrated that Malaysians expect organisations to deliver on societal attributes over the expected operational attributes in order to gain their trust.
"Influence and authority are moving away from chief executive officers (CEOs) and government leaders to experts and peers," he told reporters at a press conference here yesterday.
This means business and government leaders must change their management approach.
"Effective leaders seek input of employees, consumers, activists and experts such as academics, and adapt to their feedback," he said.
"In an environment where trust is fragile, this is a clear opportunity for business and government to re-claim the licence to lead," he added.
Moving on to the business sector, the survey showed the most trusted industry sectors are technology (85 per cent), banks (82 per cent) and energy industry (81 per cent).
The least trusted were brewing and spirits (56 per cent) and media (66 per cent), although both industries saw double-digit growth.
Globally, the survey noted that corruption and wrong incentives driving business and policy decisions were cited as key reasons for distrust in business and government.
It said the poor performance and incompetence were a leading factor in the people losing confidence in the government.
In terms of multinational corporations, Malaysians placed a higher trust in companies headquartered in Germany, Canada and Sweden over companies based in the emerging markets of Brazil, China and India.
Following trends across the Asia Pacific, Malaysians also have more confidence in big companies over small businesses.
The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer in Malaysia was produced by research firm Edelman Berland and consisted of 20-minute online interviews conducted from October 16 to November 29, 2012.
Edelman is the world's largest independent public relations firm, with 66 offices and more than 4,500 employees worldwide, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities.