Pandemic sees average monthly salaries drop 9% in 2020, first decline since 2010

The average monthly salaries in Malaysia fell nine per cent last year – the first ever decline recorded since 2010.

Chief Statistician Malaysia Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the mean monthly salaries and wages declined to RM2,933 in 2020 after recording over RM3,000 for two consecutive years.

The mean monthly salaries in 2018 and 2019 were RM3,087 and RM3,224 respectively.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia said three sectors posted a double-digit decline, namely agriculture (-20 per cent), mining and quarrying (-17.7 per cent) and construction (-10.4 per cent).

The services, and manufacturing sectors registered a fall of 9.4 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively.

Uzir said the labour market experienced uneven momentum following the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in job losses as well as cancellation, or freezing, of new hires.

“This subsequently led to the decline in total employment. Besides this, the strict Covid-19 containment measures adopted in the country had also limited the business operation hours that led to the reduction in working hours,” Uzir added.

By state, the highest mean monthly salaries and wages were received by employees in Putrajaya (RM4,497). The other states that also recorded a mean value above the national level were Kuala Lumpur (RM3,823), Selangor (RM3,480), Negeri Sembilan (RM3,013) and Labuan (RM2,942).

“The unprecedented event in 2020 had lowered the salaries and wages received by full-time employees in Malaysia. This scenario was also experienced globally. The International Labour Organisation said average wages in most countries, including Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom, recorded a downward trend.

“Countries that adopted job retention measures were able to retain employment, albeit at lower wages, and subsequently, mitigated job losses. Malaysia experienced the same scenario, whereby the wage subsidy and employment retention programmes helped to cushion the impact of job losses in 2020.”

The Social Security Organisation reported that 107,024 individuals had lost their jobs in 2020.

“As for the situation in 2021, challenges persist as the new daily cases of Covid-19 has been consistently high towards the end of May,” said Uzir.

“Although various phases of the Movement Control Orders have been continuously implemented throughout this year to curb the spread of this pandemic, some flexibility for economic activities was allowed.”

He said continuous initiatives were being implemented in paving the way towards economic recovery and that they were being 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 employees’ salaries.”

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights.


The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) is deeply concerned by the repeated allegations that factories were a primary source of Covid-19

In a statement signed by its president, Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai, FFM said data by the Health Ministry from June 1 to July 12, showed that the daily new cluster-based cases reported, ranged between 1 per cent and 17 per cent of the overall cases reported daily.

New manufacturing cluster cases over the same period ranged between 0.3 per cent and 8.3 per cent.

“It is very clear that cases linked to clusters, especially manufacturing clusters, are low,” Soh said.

“Other data also support the fact that factories are also not the main source of infections. Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, on June 14, said it was reported that out of the 662,457 cumulative Covid-19 positive cases since 2020, only 95,156 (14.4 per cent) were from manufacturing.

“On June 30, 2021, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali was quoted in the media as saying that based on data obtained from the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre, the manufacturing sector accounted for just 9.3 per cent of cases, or 12,872 cases from the total 138,649 (Covid-19) cases reported between June 1 and June 23.”

Malaysia recorded 11,618 new Covid-19 cases today.


Local authorities in Selangor do not have the power to close factories to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Selangor executive councillor for local government and public transportation, Ng Sze Han, said although Section 107(2) of the Local Government Act 1976 gave local authorities the absolute power to revoke a factory’s operating licence, the revocation must be done in accordance with the conditions set in the licence when it was issued.

“It does not include health issues related to the prevention and control of infectious diseases, as such matters are subject to health laws enforced by the Federal Government through the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988,” Ng said in a statement.

“They (local councils) are bound by the directive as well as the standard operating procedures (SOPs) outlined in the Movement Control Order (MCO), Conditional MCO or Enhanced MCO set by the National Security Council (NSC).”


A total of 142 child abuse cases were recorded in Negeri Sembilan in the first six months of 2021, with physical abuse topping the list at 85 cases.

Other forms of abuse recorded were sexual (36 cases), child neglect (13) and four cases each for emotional and abandonment.

“Physical abuse also recorded the highest number of cases (60) from the total of 160 child abuse cases reported in the same period last year,” said State Social Welfare Department director, Rosnah Sardi.

The state welfare department rescued 341 child abuse victims in 2020.

“Child abuse is not something that we should take lightly and must be addressed immediately,” she added.


Three students and two unemployed men appeared before the magistrate’s court in Batu Pahat this morning for not wearing face masks as they gathered at a traffic light junction in Parit Raja two months ago.

They had committed the offence under Regulation 9 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2021.

The accused – Muhammad Farhan Mhd Basri, Nur Muhamad Afif Norazam, Faizul Naim Ahmad, Muhamad Al Azim Abd Rasid and Muhamad Hafizul Helmi Zailan, aged between 19 and 23 – pleaded not guilty when the charges were read separately before magistrate Mohd Syafiq Mustaza.

The magistrate set bail at RM1,000 with one surety for each of the accused.

The case was set for re-mention on Aug 26.

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