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Labour Day’s Special: Unemployment During COVID-19



  May 01, 2020

Today is Labour Day. 


This year is definitely a tough year for most of the working people regardless of industry. Before the invasion of the COVID-19, many traditional businesses were already having a hard time due to the proliferation of mobile technologies and social media. Ever since the MCO (Movement Control Order), things are getting worse that many businesses have no choice but to cease their operations. 


According to the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng, about 15 percent of hotels in Malaysia may have to shut down their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, the famous Hong Kong-based textile and garment manufacturer, Esquel Group Malaysia, announced its closure in the coming June. 


Although the government has pressured business owners not to exploit employee’s rights, many businesses have no choice but to go through retrenchment (some even shutting down entirely) because they are facing extreme financial difficulty. 



For the first time, the gaming and hospitality giant Genting Malaysia Bhd is embarking on its maiden pay cut exercise as the Covid-19 pandemic forces its casinos, resorts, and entertainment theme parks to be temporarily shut. Before 2020 came, who would have foreseen this to happen? I mean, just a few months back, my legs almost cramped while I was driving up to Genting Highland, due to the terrible traffic jam to the hilltop. 


Times are really bad for those who are working. And it’s even worse for those who just wanna start their career. 



Recently, the Malaysia Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said to the press that the employment rate of fresh graduates in the next few months is almost at zero percent. “Industries that are still actively hiring are mostly from the gig sectors, which not many of the university graduates would be interested in.” Datuk Shamsuddin also pointed out that many internship programs were canceled or postponed due to the MCO, which may affect and delay students’ plans for their future. 


What Could We Do?


The pandemic is out of our control. The only thing one can control is ownself. If your job is still maintained, please appreciate it and do your best to help the company get through this down period. 


For those who have lost your job or fresh graduates who couldn’t find a job, there are two things that you can do. You can look out for gig opportunities (mainly in logistics, medical, and manufacturer sectors) to get temporary financial support. At the same time, seek opportunities to upskill yourself so that you’re ready for better opportunities once the economy is revived. 


Do not give up hopes. Please take good care of yourself and let’s prepare yourself for more challenges in the near future. 


Happy Labour Day. 


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