Gig economy rides out storm

Grab, with its extensive 100,000 driver-partners, led the widest ride network in Malaysia followed by MyCar (10,000 driver-partners).

PETALING JAYA: The number of gig workers has escalated this year, especially in the e-hailing and delivery services, in light of the implementation of the movement control order (MCO).

The unprecedented economic challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic also saw soaring enquiries with regard to e-hailing jobs due to retrenchments as a result of the MCO.

The reopening of activities and continuous support from the government has helped the Covid-19-hit gig sector defy the current economic downturn and ride out the pandemic.

The statistics of those involved in e-hailing and delivery services this year is expected to be higher as the gig services sector welcomes more laid-off workers and those facing income cuts.

Last year, there were 466,600 workers involved in the gig sector compared with 559,900 workers in 2018, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia.

The e-hailing sector recorded a contraction of revenue at 16% and 68.8% in the first quarter (Q1) and Q2, respectively, amid the Covid-19-led MCO and conditional MCO (CMCO), imposed nationwide from March 18 to June 9.

However, the e-hailing sector saw a strongest rebound in revenue with a 237.8% growth in Q3, as economic activities reopened from June 10.

Meanwhile, total e-hailing companies operating in the country declined 25% to 33 licences in November 2020, from 44 licences recorded in the same month last year.

Grab, with its extensive 100,000 driver-partners, led the widest ride network in Malaysia followed by MyCar (10,000 driver-partners).

Meanwhile, revenue of the food delivery services grew 7.3% and 14.5% in Q1 and Q2, respectively, as demand climbed due to limited movement during the MCO and CMCO.

The food delivery services recorded a moderate revenue growth of 1.9% in Q3 following the reopening of restaurants and dine-in services.

The National Economic Recovery Plan, unveiled by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on June 5, has allocated RM75mil to promote the gig economy and provide a social safety net for workers in the informal sector.

Of this, RM50mil in matching grants would be allocated to the gig economy platforms that contribute for their gig workers towards the Social Security Organisation’s employment injury scheme and the Employees Provident Fund’s i-Saraan scheme. Meanwhile, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corp will be provided with the remaining RM25mil for the Global Online Workforce programme to encourage freelancing. — Bernama

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