Socso CEO warns of over 100,000 job cuts by end-2020 if Covid-19 persists

Street vendors are seen waiting for customers in front of their shops on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman amid the conditional movement control order in Kuala Lumpur October 23, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Street vendors are seen waiting for customers in front of their shops on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman amid the conditional movement control order in Kuala Lumpur October 23, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — The Social Security Organisation (Socso) has revealed that in a worst-case scenario, more than 100,000 Malaysians could be out of a job by the end of the year.

In an interview with Free Malaysia Today (FMT) published this morning, Socso CEO Mohammed Azman Aziz based this prediction on the current trajectory of job losses that has seen almost 10,000 people lose their jobs every month in 2020.

He added that the organisation had received 89,596 reports of lost employment as of October 22, saying this represented an increase of 278 per cent compared with 2019.

“This represents an increase of 278 per cent compared with 2019. If this trend continues, loss of employment cases are estimated to be more than 100,000 by the end of 2020,” he was quoted as saying.

“We observed that the figure started to increase in May, when the government implemented the conditional movement control order (CMCO), and spiked in July when the recovery MCO commenced. The trend started to stabilise in mid-July.”

In the same report, Azman said that the manufacturing sector was the worst hit, with 20,492 cases reported, or the equivalent of 23 per cent of cases.

This was followed by the accommodation and food and beverage industries in second and third places with 13,053 (15 per cent) and 12,450 (14 per cent) cases respectively.

According to FMT, Azman also noted that the majority of job losses recorded were in the Klang Valley at 58 per cent of the total, with Selangor and Kuala Lumpur seeing 27,619 and 23,882 cases of lost employment respectively.

Meanwhile, Penang had the third-highest incidence in the country, with 9,489 cases, or 11 per cent of the total.

“In terms of occupation, the professional category is the most affected, with 23,022 (26 per cent) cases, followed by technician jobs with 17,240 (19 per cent) and managerial positions with 11,762 (13 per cent),” Azman was quoted as saying.

He added that the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has left the labour market reeling but offered an optimistic prognosis if the situation can be brought under control through government programmes like Prihatin, Penjana and KitaPrihatin.

“If we can avoid a full lockdown and the economy recovers, Socso expects 20,000 to 25,000 job losses in the first quarter of 2021,” he said, adding that the unemployment rate by year-end or in the first quarter of 2021 could fall to between 4 per cent and 4.5 per cent from its current 4.7 per cent.

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