Self-employed worst hit due to outbreak

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by TMR FILE

SELF-EMPLOYED Malaysians took the hardest hit from the economic damage due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the latest survey by the Department of Statistics Malaysia.

The data showed that 46.6% of those self-employed have gone without any income as a result of the outbreak.

About 53.4% continue to work but with lower income, while a third of self-employed workers have seen their income reduced by more than 90%.

Over two-thirds (71.4%) had less than a month worth of savings, while 81.9% said they were not prepared for another extension to the Movement Control Order (MCO) period. The MCO is set to end on April 14, but extension is seen as viable.

“The findings of this survey will assist the government and people in addressing the effects of Covid-19 on the economy and employment,” said chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin.

However, he cautioned that the assessments were based on survey responses and not representative of the country’s demographics.

The survey, which was conducted on 168,182 respondents from March 23 to 31, saw the agriculture and services sectors record the highest levels of job losses at 21.9% and 15% respectively.

“For the agriculture sector, 33% of workers in the fisheries subsector reported job losses, and 21.1% in agriculture and plantation.

“In the services sector, there were 35.4% job losses in the food and beverages subsector, followed by the transport and storage subsector with 18.7%,” he said.

Meanwhile, 86.1% of employers said their earnings were affected, with 65.9% experiencing a decline of over 50%.

Eighty-five percent of workers at government-linked companies (GLCs) and multinational companies (MNCs), however, reported usual income, while 58.5% in the private sector said their income remained stable so far. More than 50% of employers said they had enough savings for at least a month.

However, only 71.3% of employers were ready for another MCO extension.

Most workers in GLCs and MNCs said they are ready for an extension as they have enough savings for up to two months.

On the flipside, 65.1% of private sector workers said they were not ready as only 41.9% had enough to last for at least two months.

Malaysia imposed the MCO on March 18 after the number of coronavirus infections nearly tripled to 673 just before all non-essential activities were brought to a halt.

As of yesterday, Malaysia recorded 4,228 confirmed cases and 67 deaths.

The initial two-week period was further extended by an additional 14 days.

The government will decide today at the earliest whether to push the April 14 end date further back.