Freelancers to face tougher times due to Covid-19

There are fewer jobs, especially during the MCO period, since many events have either been postponed or cancelled


WITH the threat of an economic recession just around the corner — as predicted by financial experts and economists — and while those who work full-time are beginning to worry, freelancers are expected to face tougher times ahead.

Ghostwriter Nor Syariza Tahir said there are fewer jobs, especially during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period since many events have either been postponed or cancelled.

She has been getting less script-writing jobs since January, not only because of Covid-19, but also due to Malaysia’s change of government.

“I feel insecure. I think freelancers in the event industry will suffer. “We (writers) need to be more flexible. For example, taking translation jobs for annual reports since companies will still issue reports no matter what,” she told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Nor Syariza, 31, wrote full-time for a lifestyle portal, but decided to freelance four months ago.

Meanwhile, freelance photographer Mohd Fauzi Baharudin said almost six photo shoots scheduled for dates within the MCO period have been postponed.

“Luckily, the deposits have already been paid. So far, there is no problem,” he told TMR.

Mohd Fauzi opined that this is the time for employees to use their Employees’ Provident Fund to cushion the impacts of MCO. Meanwhile, an online food delivery service rider who wished to remain anonymous said it is a busy period for riders.

“More customers are utilising online food delivery services and I am earning more compared to normal days.

“My parents are worried about me delivering food to many people, but I have assured them of the contactless delivery policy, as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he told TMR.

The Covid-19 Special Task Force Secretariat for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Entrepreneurs has hailed the government’s immediate measures via the second stimulus package to reduce the economic effects of Covid-19 on severely impacted sectors.

Its secretary Shahul Dawood said the latest stimulus package clearly prioritised small and medium enterprises (SMEs), small and medium industries (SMIs), self- employed entrepreneurs and workforce from the affected sectors who had been laid off or subjected to extensive pay cuts.

“At times like this, the quick action taken by the government to provide financial aid for the next six months is sorely needed and important in facing the vicious downward cycle in the country’s economy.

“We urge the banks to disseminate this call to their respective officers and order them to stop harassing for loan repayments,” he said in a statement.

In the current situation, many SMEs, SMIs and self-employed entrepreneurs are facing major challenges in cashflow, rental and payroll, as well as employee retention.

The financial and mental well-being of entrepreneurs and SMEs, in general, should be a top priority for the government, stressed Shahul.

The task force was formed to represent over 100 organisations from SMEs, SMIs, NGOs and self-employed entrepreneurs to be their voice to battle the economic crisis caused by Covid-19.