On March 16th, the Malaysian government announced its plan to launch a two-week movement control order, which commenced two days after. This partial lockdown includes things like barring tourists and visitors from entry, compulsory self-quarantine for citizens returning from abroad, closure of schools and non-essential government and private premises, all of which have been commonplaces in policies different governments enforce in hopes of curbing the novel coronavirus. The movement control order also includes a ban on all sporting, religious, social and cultural gatherings, where all business and religious premises are forced to close with the exemption of grocery stores, provision stores and public markets. While this is on the stricter side of things, we’re beginning to see more and more countries adopting similar policies to better enforce social distancing in hopes of slowing down the spikes of newly infected cases.
With most businesses closed and everyone working from home, Malaysia’s economy is undoubtedly taking a heavy hit, however, it might not be all doom and gloom.
e-Commerce seems to be the one industry that is currently going against the current, as it is continuing to grow despite the challenging market conditions. We’re seeing increased popularity for e-Commerce platforms like Grab or marketplaces such as Lazada, Shopee and Zalora, as more and more people resort to home deliveries for groceries, meals or even alcohol! Along with its rising trend, we are also seeing increased hiring needs within these companies as they continue to grow their businesses, a good example would be Amazon’s recent announcement to hire 100K workers to cope with their increased demand. Similarly, the KLIA Aeropolis Digital Free Trade Zone Park, a joint development by KLIA Aeropolis and Alibaba Group, poses great opportunities for Malaysia’s e-Commerce industry as it would allow Malaysia Airports to double the air cargo volume within 10 years.
Aside from that, this is also a great opportunity to prove that working from home indeed works, especially for positions where it’s previously deemed impossible. With reports showcasing the significant improvement in productivity while working from home, and technology advancements to help bring people together whilst far apart, there’s no reason why flexible working arrangements won’t stay after the pandemic.
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