Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Money matters weigh heaviest during MCO, survey shows

Respondents say financial activities are the most challenging, followed by social interaction, mental health and work.

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Financial activities are the most challenging under the government’s partial lockdown, a new survey shows as the second instalment of the movement control order (MCO) enters its third week with daily Covid-19 numbers still in the four-figure range.

The survey, conducted by the UCSI Poll Research Centre, showed that 61.4% of respondents find their financial situation to be the most challenging aspect of the MCO, followed by social interaction (51.6%), mental health (49.2%), work (48.9%) and the purchase of groceries or necessities (24.5%).

The bulk of respondents (74.8%) said the MCO was challenging but manageable, 17.8% said it was no problem at all and 7.5% said they were unable to cope.

When asked about their ability to cope if the MCO is extended, 74.3% of respondents said it would be challenging but manageable, 12.2% said it would be no problem at all, and 13.5% said they would not be able to cope.

The survey was conducted among 951 people from Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, and Penang.

The MCO, which first ran from March to June last year, was reinstated on Jan 13 following a fierce spike in number of cases.

It was initially implemented in six states but later extended to cover the entire country except for Sarawak, which remains under recovery MCO with the exception of three districts – Sibu, Selangau and Kanowit – which came under MCO on Jan 16.

Under the so-called MCO 2.0, only critical services and a number of businesses categorised under five essential sectors are allowed to stay open.

The UCSI poll showed that respondents aged 25 and below, and 56 and above, appeared better able to cope with the movement restrictions than those in other age groups.

Nearly 72% of respondents aged 25 and below said the MCO was challenging but manageable while 7.9% said they were unable to cope with it at all.

Just over 73% of respondents in the next age group – 26 to 39 – said they could manage while 8.4% said they could not manage; nearly 80% of respondents aged 40 to 55 said they could manage while 6.6% said they could not; and just over 73% of respondents aged 56 and above said they could manage while 5.4% said they could not.

In terms of location, respondents living in urban areas said they were coping with the MCO better than those who live in semi-urban and rural areas.

When asked if they agreed that the spike in numbers was due to a lack of adherence to SOPs, 68% said yes, 18% said no and 14% were undecided.

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