JobStreet poll: Just one in three Malaysians still happy with life after MCO

Danial Dzulkifly
Taxi drivers wait for passengers at a taxi station in Shah Alam May 6, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — The economic turmoil from measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic has caused Malaysians’ happiness with their quality of life to fall by more than half compared to a year ago, according to a new JobStreet survey.

In the survey of 5,000 Malaysian workers conducted in May, just 35 per cent said they were still happy with their quality of life now, compared to 77 per cent in 2019.

The swing towards dissatisfaction was most notable among those retrenched during the movement control order (MCO), with just 18 per cent of this group saying they were happy with quality of life when 81 per cent of them reported feeling so prior to the MCO.

Respondents unable to work but not jobless during the period fared better, with 29 per cent saying quality of life was still acceptable versus 79 per cent before the nationwide shutdown starting in March.

The MCO and subsequent variations of the order have wreaked havoc on the economy, with businesses reporting billions of ringgit in lost trade as a result of their mandatory closures.

While the government has introduced various measures such as the Prihatin and Penjana stimulus packages to mitigate the damage, the Malaysian economy is still projected to contract by 3.1 per cent this year compared to last year’s 4.3 per cent expansion.

Job losses have also begun to rack up due to retrenchments and business closures, with the unemployment rate projected to rise to 6 per cent, eclipsing the 3.2 per cent during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and the 3.7 per cent during the 2008 financial meltdown.

Many of those who still have jobs have had to endure pay cuts as part of businesses cost-cutting measures.

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