Economy of Tomorrow Regional Conference 2020 – Day 5

The Future of Work in the New Normal

Session 5: The Labour Response

Jointly organised by REFSA and FES

Full Recording

The COVID-19 pandemic has in general shed light on the different facets of work, such as how polarised and precarious labour markets have become and how unequally distributed the resources needed to cope with the consequences of the health crisis are.

Blue-collar workers, especially, have been affected by the pandemic to an unimaginable degree. Activities that traditionally were under-resourced and poorly paid, such as medical work, care and agriculture, are now deemed “systemically important” in tackling the health crisis and sustaining supply chains.

On the other hand, women are particularly hit hard, as they usually manage the bigger part of household and care work, while often do part-time/non-standardized work, at the same time facing already pre-crisis gaps.

So what kind of new work culture is needed and how can we define the new social contract and labour regime, recognising structural disadvantages and widening existing gender gap. What social security adjustments are needed to deal with the new normal?


Apolinar Z. Tolentino, Asia Pacific Regional Representative at Building and Wood workers International (BWI), Malaysia

Anni Santhiago, Lawyer, Malaysia

Hidayat Greenfield, Asia-Pacific Regional Secretary, International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF)

Rajiv Rishyakaran, State Legislative Assemblyperson, Bukit Gasing, Selangor; National Assistant Publicity Secretary, Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth (DAPSY), Malaysia

Closing Remark:
Liew Chin Tong, Chairman, REFSA; National Political Education Director, Democratic Action Party; former Deputy Minister of Defence, Malaysia



A summary of the discussion can be found here.



Apolinar Z. Tolentino, presentation, note

Hidayat Greenfield, note



Event reported in Free Malaysia Today.



A series of doodles presentation highlighting key points are showcased below:



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