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ZOM-IN MCO Stories #4 — Why People Rush Back to Work?



  May 04, 2020

Today marks the first day for the MCO to be loosened (not lifted yet), many people are rushing back to work despite uncertainties. Those include my uncle. 


Throughout the MCO, many white-collars (including myself) are not so worried because most of us can work from home, as long as our laptop and internet connection is fine. However, that’s not the same story for skilled workers, casual workers, and manual workers. 


The hardest-hit industries in the pandemic (hotel & tourism, events, exhibition, brick & mortar businesses) employ a lot of low-wage people. Therefore, people who are earning less are more likely to lose their job during this MCO compared to people who are earning more. This is how sad the reality is. 


My uncle who used to work as a skilled worker in the exhibition industry said to me, “Don’t expect our sector to be back to normal once the MCO is lifted. There will be an unpredictable quiet period for exhibitions even Malaysia don’t have COVID-19 cases anymore.” He then explained it’s because many clients are from overseas. “Unless there is a cure for the disease, or else it’s impossible for them to enter our country and run exhibitions here.” 


Fortunately, my uncle managed to find a job in an Incense Shop. Before MCO, he had worked a few days there. “There’s this young man who came all the way from Puchong (to Cheras) for a low-wage job (RM1600 per month) like this, only because he was also a skilled worker like me. He hasn’t gotten any jobs since January and he has a 3-months-old daughter to feed.” 


For many people, RM1600 might seem insufficient for a family with a baby, but for this young father, he must pick up anything more than zero. It’s really sad because there are many people facing similar struggles, and most of them are hardworking people. 


When the government announced to lessen the measures of MCO and to allow most business sectors to resume operations, there are many voices against the decision. I just want to share that being able to stay at home peacefully without needing to worry about the next meal is a privilege. Indeed, it’s risky to back to work now. But the post-lockdown financial worries are also real. 



“ZOM-IN MCO Stories” is an internal initiative from ZOM-IN to share what we’ve observed, experienced, and learned during the Movement Control Order.


If you have stories to tell, you could send it to us via our social media channels or email to admin@zom-in.com.


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