Sunday, February 1, 2009

More Malaysians Seek Additional Sources Of Income


Source: The Star

By LAALITHA HUNT

PETALING JAYA: Tay, 46, a sales manager at a local manufacturing company, has been forced to take unpaid leave for a week this month.

“My salary has been reduced by about 25% as a result of the unpaid leave and benefits such as handphone, petrol and entertainment allowances have been cut by half,” he told StarBiz.

Nirmala Paramaswaran

Tay, who declined to give his full name, said that with demand not showing any signs of recovery in the near term, he was prepared to accept further pay cuts.

“My wife recently took a course and just started a part-time business offering nail art and treatment services from home. This additional income proves useful at times like these,” he added.

Like Tay’s wife, more Malaysians are seeking additional sources of income to cope with the current economic slowdown and higher cost of living.

Nirmala Paramaswaran, 27, a team leader at an IT outsourcing company in Cyberjaya, is selling food items such as nasi lemak and sandwiches.

“Demand from my colleagues has been great and the extra income is handy as daily necessities have become more expensive,” she told StarBiz.

Nirmala, who enjoys cooking, said the venture had also been a good learning experience as she was able to improve her culinary skills based on her customers’ feedback.

Many people are also drawn to seek a second income to sustain a comfortable standard of living.

Samantha Chin, 28, a technical support executive at an insurance company who aspires to buy an apartment for her family, earns up to RM1,000 a month providing Web page design services to small and medium-scale enterprises.

Leigh Howard

“The additional income has increased my savings considerably and would enable me to make my purchase much sooner than I had hoped for. However, orders have fallen slightly in recent times,” she said.

Meanwhile, Great Eastern Life Assurance (M) Bhd senior group sales manager Reginald Yoganathan Hunt said a good part-time insurance agent with more than five years of experience can make up to RM6,000 in recurring commission.

“The insurance business can yield lucrative income even on a part-time basis, provided the agent is commited,” he said, adding that he had 16 part-time agents in his group.

Talent2 International Ltd director for South Asia Leigh Howard said the current job market in Malaysia was definitely slowing.

“Several multinational corporations have blanket hiring freezes although they would continue hiring for specialist skills,” he said, adding that the manufacturing sector appeared to be having a tough time as retrenchments loomed, but they were still looking for higher-grade skills as well.

“The current economic climate may also see wages stalling while the cost of living continues to rise,” he added.

Howard said that it was possible for employees to seek a second income but they should first check their current employer’s policies.

G. Rajasekaran

“Specific permission may be required and potential conflict of interest declared. It depends on the situation. The rule is, make sure a second job would not jeopardise your current one,” he said.

On the downside, a part-time job could be tiring and leave one with less time to spend with family and friends, Howard said.

“Also, look out for hidden expenses such as transport costs,” he added.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary-general G Rajasekaran said there was no restriction on workers pursuing part-time jobs except for certain key or high-risk employment positions.

“In fact, in view of the rising cost of living, it was recently announced that government staff would be allowed to take on part-time jobs, but for a limited number of hours per day,” he said.

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