COMMENT | Young Malaysians are under siege. Covid-19 has created a perfect storm of economic, social, and political pressures that will have long-term implications for an entire generation of young Malaysians, and for the future of the Malaysian economy and society as a whole.

Economic hardships

It is well-known that young Malaysians have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19. Overall, young workers have suffered far higher rates of job losses than older workers while also being pushed out of the labour market in record numbers.

The youth unemployment rate (for jobseekers below 25 years of age) is now at about 12.7 percent - far higher than the unemployment rate for older workers, which is sitting at about 3.2 percent.

Compared to a year ago, there are about 283,000 fewer young Malaysians who have a job, while about another 234,000 have exited the labour market entirely. Those who managed to hold on to their jobs are overwhelmingly more likely to have their work hours and/or wages cut and are also likely to face increased job precarity.

New Malaysian graduates entering the workforce only add to an ever-growing stock of unemployed youths, as bad labour market conditions and an uneven economic recovery continue to deepen the youth unemployment crisis.

Even when Malaysia’s economic growth returns to pre-pandemic levels, these...

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