COVID-19 and MCO in Malaysia: Grassroots Perspectives


About the Webinar

Malaysia is in the throes of another COVID-19 surge and reimposition of Movement Control Order (MCO), stoking public health anxiety and stressing the health system in ways the government readily acknowledges. However, on the economic and social fronts, the official account tells of pain mitigated and plenty of government aid extended. A raft of social assistance, especially wage subsidies, loan moratoriums, cash transfers, unemployment benefits and hiring incentives, helped large swathes of society weather the storm. Unemployment recovered from a peak of 5.3% in May 2020, but has hovered at just under five per cent for the past five months.

The storm has not passed, even from the birds’ eye view of national aggregated data. Indeed, eyewitness accounts of income loss and difficulty coping with business restrictions and school closures reflect deeper hardships – lived experiences inadequately captured in the official statistics. This webinar presents grassroots perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 and MCOs. Our two distinguished speakers, drawing on their community activism and political advocacy, explain the ground-level realities in East and West Malaysia, critically assess the country’s policy responses of the past year, and highlight the pressing challenges for today.

About the Speakers

Jannie Lasimbang, a Kadazan from Penampang, is Sabah state assemblyperson for Kapayan. She was Assistant Minister of Law and Native Affairs from May 2018 – July 2020. She holds several DAP party posts, including Sabah Women Chief. Before joining politics in 2017, Jannie was a Commissioner with SUHAKAM, and served with UN and Asian indigenous peoples’ organisations. She worked for 17 years as a grassroots trainer and organiser with PACOS TRUST.

Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj is a medical doctor, social activist, and fervent commentator on Malaysian politics and public policy. He was Member of Parliament for Sungai Siput, Perak, from 2008 to 2018. Jeyakumar was a founding member of Parti Sosialis Malaysia, and is currently PSM Chairperson.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

Please register here to receive your unique link for joining the webinar.

Limited spaces only, register early to avoid disappointment.

To join the webinar,
1. Install the Zoom client onto your computer or download the app on your mobile device.
2. Click on the unique link in your email.

If you have questions for the speakers, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speakers during the Q&A session.


May 24 2021


2:30 pm - 4:00 pm