According to statistics done during the pandemic, Malaysia hits the highest rate of unemployment in two decades. More and more people are losing jobs as a result of the bad economy during the pandemic. When the partial lockdown happened in March, the majority of the country’s economy sectors were closed. No one goes out to shop; factories were closed for months and everything came to a sudden stop which truly affected our economy. Thus, it was inevitable that people would start to lose their jobs as their employers cannot afford to pay them. This would create a new group of society called the “new poor” and they are defined as people who were supposed to come out of poverty in 2020 but due to Covid-19, they are now going to stay poor or become even poorer. When these people become unemployed, they do not have a proper salary to pay for their daily necessary needs. Then as time passes, they would have used up all their savings while they are still unemployed due to the fact no one wants to take new employees because they cannot afford them. Some of those who are already struggling on a daily basis to survive would have to give their everything to have life’s basic needs and it is much worse for people who have families they have to take care of. Now we are near 2021 and the pandemic does not seem to be ending soon so these people’s future is still unpredictable. However, in this article, I would like to write on the aftermath of becoming poor in times of this pandemic.
1 – Exposure
In this context, this exposure contains a negative connotation. There is always that constant worry that this group of people are more exposed to sickness without the ability to pay for proper medical help. They become very vulnerable when they are in this situation where they do not have the luxury of paying for hospital bills and medicines. If they have a disease that requires them to get monthly or even weekly treatment prior to the pandemic, they would have to stop receiving the treatment because they would not have the money to pay for the treatment. If they contract a disease during the pandemic, they cannot seek for immediate help. This is concerning because every citizen plays a part in the country’s growth so every life gone is a loss to the country.
2 – Education losses
With the pandemic happening, many schools are being closed due to lockdowns or restricted movement orders. As teachers start to use online learning, some families would not be able to afford technologies. They would not have the necessary access to online learning, and this is a huge obstacle to overcome because if not, the students would not have the proper education. Low education can result in many unfortunate things like the increase in crime rate and low employability, thus, it is important that we make sure every student has access to equal education during the pandemic.
3 – Long term economic instability
As mentioned above, due to lockdowns, many companies are affected by it. Many companies had to let go of their staff because they can no longer pay for them. This is what caused people to become unemployed which eventually created the new poor in the country. As people become unemployed, they would struggle in many other aspects which would affect their lives. As the people suffer, so will the economy of the country. It will be a long time before we can truly revive our economy to its best state.
The new poor may even be pushed to be homeless due to the fact they do not have any money to pay for a house. If someone lives in Titiwangsa, they would probably live in TTDI condo or TTDI apartment before, but during the pandemic, they had to move away because they can no longer pay for it. It is truly heartbreaking for them and we, other citizen fortunate enough, should help them as much as possible.
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