COVID-19 Damage Done and Lessons Learned: Malaysian Workers’ and Employers’ Perspectives
MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME WEBINAR
About the Webinar
COVID-19, and repeated rounds of Movement Control Order (MCO), have taken a major toll on Malaysia. The economic and social impacts were drastic and severe. GDP shrank 17% in the second quarter; unemployment swelled from 3.3% in February to 5.3% in May. 2020 saw annual GDP contract by 5.6%, and while the year ended with signs of economic rebound, unemployment still hovered at 4.9%. A re-tightening of MCO in early 2021 has dampened the recovery.
Policy responses have been substantial and remedial – and some controversial. Malaysia introduced wage subsidies and loan moratoriums, encouraged the unemployed to utilize employment insurance, and expanded cash transfers and hiring incentives. These measures mitigated the damage. However, the government allowed millions of workers to drain their EPF savings, while migrant workers’ vulnerabilities have again been exposed, and the self-employed and informal workers have perhaps been left out of the help targeted at low-wage employees. How do we weigh the myriad issues and grasp the different angles?
At this webinar, two distinguished worker and employer advocates share their observations of the most significant impacts of COVID-19 and the most important lessons Malaysia should take.
About the Speakers
Andrew Lo is the CEO and former General Secretary (1989-2009) of the Sarawak Bank Employees Union. He has served as Secretary of MTUC Sarawak since 1999. He was a Board Member of the EPF and Chair its Board Audit Committee (1998-2011). He has also served on SOCSO’s board and Employment Insurance Committee, and is a member of the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC).
Datuk Hj Shamsuddin Bardan is the Executive Director of the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), a position he has held since 2000. He represents the MEF on the National Wages Consultative Council and the NLAC. Datuk Shamsuddin has also served as Secretary-General of Confederation of Asia Pacific Employers (CAPE) and Secretary-General of ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE) (2013-2015).
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.
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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.