COMMENT | Jobs recovery for Malaysia: Budget 2021 and beyond

Amanina Abdur Rahman


COMMENT | Last week’s tabling of Budget 2021 centered on four broad themes: caring for the people, steering the economy, promoting sustainable living, and enhancing public service delivery. It shone a particular spotlight on the importance of helping Malaysia’s workers weather the Covid-19 storm.

Following this, important questions to ask include: Which workers have the most risk of losing their jobs? How likely are the policies announced in the Budget to help these at-risk workers?

And what additional policies will be needed to facilitate a jobs recovery?

New research published by the World Bank in conjunction with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Iseas) shows that Malaysian workers who cannot work from home or whose jobs require high levels of physical contact with others are most vulnerable to job losses during the Covid-19 crisis.

The paper titled "The Vulnerability of Jobs to Covid-19: The Case of Malaysia" used data on the ability of different workers to work from home, adjusted for internet access and for required physical proximity at work.

It showed about 64.5 percent of jobs in Malaysia cannot be performed from home while about 50.9 percent require high levels of physical contact. These jobs are among the most vulnerable, particularly during a crisis that is further prolonged or if stricter restrictions of economic activities are reinstated...

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