It is a bleak future for employees in airlines and within the travel industry as retrenchment seems the only way keeping companies afloat.


According to Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), the country recorded an unemployment rate of 3.9% for March this year due to the impact from Covid-19.

DOSM revealed that unemployment in March rose by 17.1 per cent year-on-year to 610,000 people, for a jobless rate of 3.9 per cent compared to the same period in March 2019.

Chief  Statistician, Datuk Uzir Mahidin in a virtual press conference said the government initiative to help the rakyat with Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package can assist public with their life while facing the pandemic.

“Based on the government’s (economic reopening) announcement, we wish for a quick resumption of the economy. This is because when the economy starts moving again, there would be financial transactions that enable the economy to improve rapidly. This will create jobs and curb the unemployment rate. Hence, we are forecasting a maximum unemployment rate ranging from 3.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent for this year,” he added.



An internal source told Astro Awani that low-cost airline Air Asia Berhad is set to begin downsizing its workforce.

The announcement stated that they will terminate the services of 111 cabin crew from 1,900 crew members, 172 pilots, and 50 engineers during a briefing with airline staff yesterday.

According to New Straits Times, Malaysia Airlines Bhd is also offering voluntary unpaid leave to all of its 13,000 employees on March in order to curb the effect of Covid-19 to the airlines industry.

“We confirm that MAG has given its staff the option to voluntarily take five days of unpaid leave per month for at least three months, or between one and three months beginning April 2020,” a Malaysia Airlines spokesperson said when contacted by New Straits Times.


The Malaysia Hotel Association (MAH) disclosed that around 2,041 hotel employees in Malaysia have already been laid off in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic effect on the travel industry.

Apart from the layoff,  9,773 staff are on unpaid leave and another 5,054 had suffered pay cuts. This number is based on a sampling size of 56,299 and is set to grow over the next few months.

An example of layoff in the industry is when the Genting Malaysia Bhd also announced to its employees that the group will have to perform an unprecendented retrenchment measures, according to The Edge Markets.

They also have to result to close their casinos for two months which take a heavy toll on the company.

“They are retrenching 10% to 20% of their employees which stands about 20,000,” a source tell The Edge Markets.


High unemployment is bad news, posing myriad problems for the government of the day. Our government must take immediate measures to address the problem with an effective economic recovery plan that can diversify the economy and create new employment opportunities.


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