Malaysia's unemployment rate is expected to balloon to 13% and see 2.4 million citizens without a job, according to a report by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) published in May
In a report published on 8 May, EPF highlighted the issues surrounding everyday Malaysians' financial struggles before the pandemic, as well as the gaps within the Malaysian social protection system exposed by the health crisis.
The projected unemployment rate of 13% by EPF is based on the estimation done by the Malaysia Employers Federation (MEF) in March 2020.
EPF also highlighted the increase in demand for employment opportunities in the gig economy
According to data made available by GrabFood and Foodpanda, there was a 37% increase in job applications during this period.
This is likely due to the lack of supply in the job market, which led to Malaysians picking up a delivery job as a temporary solution to make ends meet.
It is also learnt that 46% of self-employed Malaysians — or two million citizens working in informal sectors — are currently out of work. The report noted that this group of people is not covered by employment insurance.
95% of self-employed Malaysians claimed to have lost 90% of their income, while 71% of them reported that they have enough savings to only last through one month.
An estimated 260,000 citizens were told to take unpaid leave during this period as well, according to the Social Security Organisation's (SOCSO) Employment Insurance System (EIS).
The findings reported in May are on top of the pre-existing problems before the COVID-19 pandemic affected the country
Prior to the pandemic, EPF noted that 19% of Malaysian children were living in relative poverty.
In other words, 1.7 million children were living in a family whose parents or guardians made less than about RM2,900 — 50% of the median household income of the country, which is RM5,860.
40% of children below the age of five experienced stunted growth due to poor nutrition, while 14,000 teens dropped out of secondary school.
Based on EPF's 2019 data, 86% of Malaysians' income was less than RM4,000. Among those, 4.4 million — or 50% of EPF members — made less than RM2,500 a month.
Three in five working citizens were not covered by any statutory contributions and 96% of people did not have enough savings to survive six months of living expenses.
Last month, the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) revealed the unemployment rate among fresh graduates in 2020 is projected to be 25%: