SHAH ALAM – Chairil Anwar Sabar led an enviable lifestyle as he ran his own profitable firm, owned a comfortable house and a few vehicles, and could afford to spend thousands of ringgit a month.
Then came the COVID-19 crisis and the Movement Control Order (MCO), which caused his business to nosedive.
Chairil Anwar, who is in his 50s, started his own small metal stamping enterprise in Rawang, Selangor, 13 years ago and built it up from scratch.
“We used to manufacture metal stamps for the production of automotive products and sports equipment, among others, and my business was thriving,” he told Bernama, adding that business slowed down when the MCO set in and before he knew it, he had to put up the shutters as he stopped getting new orders.
He could not pay wages to his five workers and owed his suppliers a lot of money.
Chairil Anwar, who has seven children aged between two and 27, tried in vain to look for a job. His savings fast depleting and after three months of being jobless, he took up an offer to join Pos Malaysia’s Pos Rider programme at the end of May, which gave him a glimmer of hope.
Chairil Anwar is among the 1,400 Pos Rider agents appointed by Pos Malaysia during the MCO period. The Pos Rider initiative, introduced in September 2019 to smoothen its parcel delivery capacity, has also unwittingly created job opportunities for those who had lost their source of income during the MCO.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the nation’s economy and many companies were either forced to reduce their workforce or fold up their operations.
Based on the Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) Employment Insurance System statistics, as of Sept 10, a total of 79,737 individuals lost their jobs this year.
Malaysia’s unemployment rate rose to 4.9 percent in June from 3.3 percent in February this year.
Pos Malaysia, on the other hand, has created job opportunities during these critical times by appointing 1,400 Pos Rider agents during the MCO period alone.
Chairil Anwar, who as a Pos Rider agent handles parcel deliveries to the Kota Kemuning and Bukit Rimau areas in Selangor, said: “My new job is very different from what I did before. Now I don’t have to wear a suit and I don’t work in an air-conditioned office. But I am happy and enjoy meeting all kinds of people every day.”
He said as a Pos Rider, he can earn up to RM2,500 a week if he works hard from Monday to Saturday and makes about 150 parcel deliveries a day.
“In four weeks, it is possible to make about RM10,000. It’s not a lowly job and I am not ashamed to be a Pos Rider,” he added.
When he first became a Pos Rider, he worked on a part-time basis but decided to pursue it full time when he realised its income potential.
“I can now take care of my family and settle my debts,” he said.
Sharing Chairil Anwar’s sentiment is Muhammad Hafidz Ahmad Fadzil, 33, who quit his job as a lecturer at a private college and later became a Pos Rider agent. In fact, he has committed himself to his new job for the long term as he feels it is secure and stable.
The father-of-one said he had to take a substantial pay cut during the MCO while he was working at the college and his take-home pay was barely sufficient to make ends meet.
“I decided to resign and look for another job. It wasn’t easy to find a job then and I had to borrow money from my parents to survive,” he said, adding that things changed for the better after he chanced upon a Pos Rider advertisement on Facebook.
Muhammad Hafidz’s application to be a Pos Rider agent was accepted and he has never been happier.
“It has now become my permanent job and, best of all, I am earning twice as much as I used to when I was a lecturer. I am able to repay the money I took from my parents and am even helping a younger sibling who is facing financial hardship,” he said, adding that he is also able to spend more time with his family now.
Muhammad Hafidz also expressed his gratitude to Pos Malaysia for allowing its Pos Rider agents to keep 100 percent of the commission they earn from each parcel delivery.
“Pos Malaysia is really helping people like me who lost their jobs as it doesn’t take any percentage of the commission we earn,” he said.
Mohamed Rozaidi Md Sharif, who is chief executive officer of Postal Services, said the Pos Rider delivery partners played a critical role during the MCO, helping Pos Malaysia to deal with the surge in parcel volume.
Parcel volume soared to a record high during the MCO prompting Pos Malaysia to turn to its delivery partners, Pos Riders, to cope with the delivery of items to customers.
Pos Malaysia was then processing an average of 487,000 parcels daily with the highest number reaching 800,000 a day.
“It was a fact that the number of delivery partners during the MCO was not enough to cater to the high parcel volume, but our Pos Riders pressed on and did a wonderful job in completing deliveries quickly and safely to our customers.
“Due to this, we were able to cope with the unexpected increase in parcel volume,” he said.
The Pos Rider programme, he explained, is one of the initiatives under Pos Malaysia’s transformation strategy carried out since 2019 and aimed at achieving long-term and sustainable returns for the company and providing the best offerings to customers.
The Pos Rider initiative has also enabled the company to run its operations at a lower fixed cost compared to employing additional full-time staff to deal with the rise in parcel volume.
One million parcels
Pos Malaysia only sees an increase in variable costs from commissions paid to its delivery partners which, said Mohamed Rozaidi, is manageable for the company in the long run. Each Pos Rider can earn up to RM6,000 in commission for delivering parcels for Pos Malaysia.
“We are happy that the Pos Rider programme fulfils its objective in providing job opportunities to the communities around us and at the same time helps to keep our costs low for us to continue offering accessible postal services to customers.
“Our priority is always the ordinary rakyat and we are committed to delivering our obligations to the nation, ranging from job creation to the delivery of basic, accessible and affordable postal services as required under the Universal Service Obligation (USO),” he said.
He said Pos Malaysia’s transformation to digital platforms is timely and has prepared the company to adapt to the change in consumer behaviour during the pandemic.
“As more and more consumers and businesses turn to e-commerce, the successful execution of the transformation plan is crucial if Pos Malaysia seeks to benefit from the new normal,” he added.
Pos Malaysia is confident that the Pos Rider programme can help mitigate the cost of delivering one million parcels a day, which the company aims to achieve by the end of 2021.