M’sians want govt to counter shadow economy to safeguard jobs

14 May 2020 / 16:23 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians count more financial aid, talent upskilling and countering the black market as most important measures to safeguard jobs and reinvigorate the economy following the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a recent study conducted by leading market research company, Green Zebras, Malaysians say that the government should provide more financial aid to employees (74%) and to employers (59%) as well as talent upskilling for workers (51%), who may have been retrenched.

Interesting, the majority of Malaysians also considered it important to counter the black market as a key solution to safeguard jobs at this crucial time, with 58% stating that they believe the government should ensure that illegal activities are not allowed to prosper.

In the same spirit, 47% of Malaysians also believe that businesses should be protected from criminal activities at this critical time, in order to create more jobs.

“Clearly, job security is at the top of mind for most working adults in Malaysia today. This survey was undertaken to understand how Malaysians feel about their jobs today and what they suggest the government should do to safeguard jobs as we move forward in the new normal,” Steve Murphy, Managing Director and Co-founder of Green Zebras Sdn Bhd, said.

The proposed measures offered by the respondents came on the back of a bleak employment outlook.

According to the survey, 52% of all respondents believe that unemployment will go up significantly while 37% says it will increase somewhat. Only 5% says that unemployment levels will remain the same while 6% says that it will decrease after the conditional movement control order (CMCO) comes to an end.

In addition, 28% of all respondents say they are now getting a lower salary while 13% have become unemployed due to the pandemic. Another 9% of the respondents say that there is currently a high level of uncertainty in their current job and they will likely see reduced salary or job loss soon. Only 34% say that their salary remains the same while 2% say that their salaries had increased. The remaining respondents (14%) were not currently in the job market.

“Casting a spotlight on the shadow economy or black market while focusing our efforts to put an end to this drag on the economy can reverse job decline and facilitate economic recovery,” Datuk Fazli Nordin, Managing Director of Retail and Trade Brands Advocacy Malaysia Chapter (RTBA Malaysia).

According to a 2019 report published by the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, economic leakages across the sectors susceptible to illicit trade create an annual drain on the economy of US$2.2 trillion (RM8.7 trillion). The report also stated that illegal and unfair competition reduces sales and dampens the ability of legitimate companies to create lasting and dignified job opportunities

“In Malaysia, the shadow economy is estimated at RM300 billion. Taking back this significant revenue loss can certainly fund much needed financial aid to both businesses and employees and invest in talent development. Moreover, by curtailing the black market, businesses compete in a level playing field that can accelerate Malaysia towards a high-income nation,” Fazli said on Green Zebras’ survey.

“The Malaysia government can very quickly address the endemic black-market problem with rigorous enforcement coupled with reviewing taxes and excise duties so as to close the price gap between legitimate products and illegal goods,” he added.

The Green Zebras job perception poll was conducted online in May 2020 in both Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia and is nationally representative of the overall population by location, gender, race and age.

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