Most Malaysian workers have returned to work

As of May 17, more than 65% of Malaysia’s workforce have returned to work, according to Malaysia’s finance minister.
By: | June 5, 2020

Malaysia’s opening of the economy on May 4 has been relatively successful, with 10.25 million Malaysians, or 67.2% of the workforce, having returned to work as of May 17.

Citing data from Malaysia’s Statistics Department, Malaysia’s finance minister, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said these figures included those working from home and covered various economic sectors such as services, agriculture, manufacturing, as well as mining and quarrying.

On May 4, Malaysia had allowed the majority of economic and business activities to resume, albeit with stringent measures such as social distancing and the mandatory wearing of face masks.

This came after easing of the movement control order (MCO), introduced on March 18, and which imposed restrictions such as the closure of shops and schools, on top of travel bans and stay-at-home orders.

While many Malaysian workers have now resumed work, an estimated 5 million workers in various sectors have not done so. “This is due to, among other reasons, these sectors being part of the list of industries prohibited under the strict SOPs for health and safety considerations,” explained Tengku Zafrul.

He also highlighted that the Malaysian government is cognisant of the challenges faced by businesses and workers, with a recent Ipsos study highlighting that 62% of Malaysians were “very concerned” about the impact of COVID-19.

In response, measures such as the Prihatin Package, worth RM$10 billion, was introduced to specifically address the needs of SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tengku Zafrul pointed out.