The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) posted the latest data on wages and mean monthly salaries on Wednesday Jul 14th.
The data was in comparison to 2019 data, and the current figures show a 9 percent dip.
Drop in mean salaries and wages
In 2019, the figure stood at RM3,224. However the DoSM 2020 Salaries & Wages Survey Report shows the 2020 figure stands at RM2,933 (US$698).
Since the series of data first began in 2010, this is the first-time there is a drop in mean salaries and wages.
Drop in wages and median salaries as well
From RM2,442 in 2019, the wages and median salaries of Malaysians fell by 15.6 per cent to RM2,062 in 2020.
DoSM measures salaries received by Malaysian citizens who are full-time employees both in the private and public sectors to compile the data.
COVID-19 pandemic is key reason
The COVID-19 pandemic was the key reason for the decline in numbers said Malaysia’s chief statistician Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin, in a statement.
Dr Mohd Uzir said “Throughout the year 2020, Malaysia’s labour market experienced uneven momentum following the health crisis and the economic consequences. This had caused job losses as well as cancellation or freezing of new hires, which subsequently resulted in the decline of total employment.”
Many firms had limited business operating hours due to strict health protocol adopted across the country said Dr Uzir. Also, working hours for employees were also reduced in the process.
Downward trend in two-thirds of the world
However, Dr Uzir said because of COVID-19, similar scenarios of wages falling are seen globally. He cites a downward trend in the level or growth rate of average wages for two-thirds countries in the world. This data comes from International Labour Organization (ILO) reports. The areas hit include the United Kingdom, Japan, and South Korea.
Dr Uzir said “Countries that adopted job retention measures were able to retain employment albeit at lower salaries and wages and subsequently mitigated job losses.”
He added “Malaysia experienced the same scenario, whereby wage subsidy and employment retention programmes have helped to cushion the impact of job losses in 2020.”
Improvements seen in 2021
The chief statistician said that COVID-19 remains a challenge while looking at the situation in 2021. However, Dr Uzir is optimistic that an increase in salaries for Malaysians would happen when the Malaysian economy improves.
With strict adherence to standard operating procedures, certain economic activities can operate. He notes enforcement of various phases of movement control orders (MCOs) in the country throughout the year.
Dr Mohd Uzir added “Continuous initiatives are implemented in paving the way towards economic recovery supported by the numerous stimulus packages to ensure business sustainability. Hence, as the country’s economic situation improves, it will lead to the recovery of the labour market and subsequently help to bring up the salaries and wages earned by employees.”
Eight economic stimulus packages rolled out
Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled an economic stimulus package worth RM150 billion in June. It is an attempt to mitigate the impacts of a continued total lockdown.
Prior to that, Putrajaya rolled out seven stimulus packages worth a total of RM380 billion.
Malaysia reported a record of 11,618 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. As of today, the daily figure stands at 13,215 cases, and the total figure stands at 880,782 cases. The death toll currently stands at 6,613.
15th July 2021 23:00
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