7 Facts About The Pandemic And Its Impact On Poverty In Malaysia

Many months into the pandemic and many families are feeling the brunt of it. Joblessness and sudden loss of income have left many struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. While those who still have jobs may complain about being stuck at home and getting on with the new norm of working from home, the poor have dire issues to worry about – whether they will survive this year or not. 

The World Bank coined some of the victims of the pandemic as the ‘new poor’. Who are they? 

The ‘new poor’ is defined as those who were expected to be non-poor in 2020 prior to the COVID-19 outbreak but are now expected to be poor in 2020.

World Bank

While the world works to rapidly tackle control the spread of COVID-19, millions of Malaysians are facing a daily struggle. Here are the facts:

#1 – The economy is expected to contract between 3.5% and 5.5% in 2020. [1]

#2 – In May 2020, Malaysia hit a 27-year high when unemployment rose to 5.3%.[2]

#3 – The number of unemployed persons has risen from about 47,300 to 826,000 people in Malaysia. [1]

#4 – It is estimated that 5-8% more Malaysians will fall into poverty as a result of the pandemic. This is in addition to the 400,000 households that are already poor. [1]

#5 – The hardest hit is the B40 households and the industry most severely impacted is tourism.

#6 – To date, the Malaysian government has unveiled stimulus packages totaling RM305 billion as part of a 4-part series of fiscal measures to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on both business and households. [1]

#7 – Sabah, the poorest state in Malaysia and known as a tourism magnet pre-pandemic is now facing surging levels of poverty, currently at 19.5% as compared to the national poverty rate at 5.6%. [1]

Poverty is hard to grasp when you look at it as just numbers and data. Channel News Asia Insider has put together a video report of this crisis. Lean in and watch it with heart as poverty has faces to it.

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Explore our sources:

  1. CNA Insider, (2020, October 14). COVID-19 In Malaysia: Can The New Poor Cope In The Post-Pandemic Era? | Insight | Poverty In Asia . Retrieved from https://youtu.be/P70c_1WeNiI. Link.
  2. Arjuna Chandran Shankar, The Edge Markets. (2020). Malaysia unemployment rate escalates to 5.3% in May. Link.

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