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These 6 Malaysians share how they cope with having two (real) jobs

Pretty sure ugaiz already know the background for this story, but we’ll still explain sikit laa for those out of the loop.

So Datuk Ahmad Maslan recently said that Malaysians should try having 2 jobs as a way to cope with the rising costs of living. His suggestion sparked mass reactions all over social media, to the point where the hashtag #2kerja became a trend most urban Malaysians were following.

Everyone from Twitter users to politicians and even the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) had something to say about it. In fact, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) chief executive Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan had to clarify that not everyone can get a second job, as contracts may have conditions that don’t allow you to work elsewhere.

With the severe backlash towards Datuk Ahmad Maslan’s comments, he managed to tweet out a reply that was probably one of his most femes tweets yet.

Yep. He said that. Screenshot from Ahmad Maslan's twitter

Yep. He said that. Screenshot from Ahmad Maslan’s twitter

Needless to say he kena even more after that, with the most popular reply being from local comedian Harith Iskandar.

But enough with Ahmad Maslan for a bit, and instead focus on the people he asked to do #2Kerja. We here at CILISOS thought that why not we give the attention back to the real people who have to work extra to get the extra money.


1. Tharmu, 54 – The tired Majlis Pembandaran driver who can keep your garden green too

For illustration purposes only. Pic from

For illustration purposes only. Pic from

Tharmu, from Port Dickson, works for the local council (Majlis Pembandaran Port Dickson) as a driver. After hours tho, he would sometimes work as a gardener for hire on a part time basis.

For illustration purposes only. Pic from

For illustration purposes only. Pic from

With a large family that includes 2 boys and 2 girls, especially for someone from the working class, working 2 jobs is sorta like a need. In fact, Tharmu has been really thankful about being able to have a part time job that pays a decent amount extra, while not having too many working hours on top of his usual day job. This has meant that he can spend time with his family and friends.

“After doing my work, I would go for gardening as part time work. I get RM350 for my part time job, once a week for four weeks,” – Tharmu, in an interview

With so many mouths to feed however, Tharmu cannot afford to stop working two jobs that take manual effort, with no plans to stop anytime soon. If you’re wondering why this entry seemed a little short, Tharmu sounded tired over the phone when we spoke to him and with two jobs that require manual labour, that’s hardly surprising.


2. Jean Low (not her real name), 30 – The pharmacist who secretly works as a pharmacist

For illustration purposes only. Pic from

Jean works for the gomen as a pharmacist for her full time day job, but once she’s done with her work, she would also sometimes terus go to private pharmacies to work part time there. While gomen staff can work extra hours for gomen, working extra for private companies a bit more mafan, so yeah that’s why she’s using a different name. As to why she’s doing two jobs, well to put it simply: money.

We guess Jean has the right genes for pharmacy.

“I had extra time on me and no commitments, so I thought why not earn more. I had no financial trouble but I’d bought a condo at that time and the extra income can pay for my mortgage and fund my holidays,” – Jean, in an interview

It’s not all good tho as recently the pharmacy that she’d been part-timing at bankrupted, so now at her current one she works fewer shifts. However, when she does work the extra hours, it also means less time spent with friends and family, although she does make sure that her Friday nights are cleared for socialising.

“I wouldn’t really say I have less time to socialise, but it does suck when they have weekday plans. I would either have to take leave or simply forgo it,” – Jean, in an interview

Also, since CILISOS kepoh, we thought we’d ask why these pharmacists always wear those white labcoats. Her reply was that it just looks more professional and can stand apart from the rest of the pharmacy staff (CILISOS definitely needs to make labcoats office attire).


3. Siti (not her real name), 36 – The single mother to an autistic child with 4 more jobs

For illustration purposes only. Pic from Flickr user Heng Fu Ming

For illustration purposes only. Pic from Flickr user Heng Fu Ming

While her day job is to be a producer for TV and film, Siti also dabbles in being an event manager, a voiceover actress and occasionally as an assistant director. All this is on top of having to be a single mother to an autistic son.

Siti’s got it under control. Pic from

It started from a bad marriage, where Siti’s ex-husband had used her name for loans and bills. Things became so bad to the point where her car had to be repossessed because of the mounting debts.

“Can you imagine, being at work when these 2 guys just come out of nowhere to tarik your kereta?” – Siti, frustrated as she had given the money for the car to her ex

After the divorce, Siti still had the loans to pay as well as taking care of her son, and needless to say she found herself financially burdened. She now works several jobs and positions to get the extra cash which goes to paying off her debt and for her son’s education, as her son requires special education. Her working hours can go from 9 in the morning up to 3 or 4am depending on what she has to do. Siti summed up her office hours by stating that she typically sleeps 2-4 hours only.

“I hardly have the time to eat, and usually I also don’t have the money to  eat because I’m still paying for the debts, until now,” – Siti, in an interview

With the heavy working hours, Siti also struggles to maintain her social life, as she doesn’t have the time to meet up with friends, although she does make sure to visit her mum when she has the time. All the debts and the bills to pay have meant that she works multiple jobs daily to pay them off, and has never taken a vacation for herself in over a decade.

“Since 2004 I’ve already been working many different jobs. And now, it’s 2015, and I’m still working multiple jobs. Money is still not enough, things are still not enough,” – a dejected sounding Siti

Thankfully, most of the debt from her marriage has been paid off with just a little more to go, and she’s now saving up to get her son into a good university.

4. Andy Oon, 55 – The business sifu that puts his family first

Andy in the blue shirt, and his family. Pic used with permission

Andy in the blue shirt, and his family. Pic used with permission

Andy’s current job is being a real estate agent, with a catering business on the side. Unlike most people who have two jobs, his side business is actually his long term business, having run his catering service for around 20 years now (longer than this writer has been alive). Real estate meanwhile is his new venture, where he is his own boss as well.

Because he’s just entering the real estate business, he still needs to run the catering business to cari makan while his main job begins to take off. He went all Confucius on me explaining why he needs both businesses, using palm trees as an example.

“When you sow the palm tree seeds to one day get the oil, you must also plant some fast growing crops – cash crops – that give you some profit until the palm trees mature, then the real money comes in,” – Sifu Andy, in an interview

Andy also says that it’s especially tough now as the property market has been harsh for sellers. While his work hours are flexible, he does find himself spending more time doing real estate than catering as he’s going around meeting potential clients and buyers for property, while his catering business is mostly made up of a steady customer base that have been around for awhile. Flexible hours can also mean erratic hours, where meetings are sometimes late at night.

Despite all this he maintained that he would still make time for his close ones, saying no to meetings if it clashes with time with family.

“If I had already made plans with my family for a long time already, and a client wants to meet up I would have to say no. Unless it’s a big deal. Then my family will rush me asking me to go go go,” – Andy, in an interview


5. Shahir and Diana, 26 – The corporate executives who also flip burgers at night

Pak Rak Burger stall. Diana on the left, Shahir in the middle and their friend Jai on the right. Click here for their Facebook page!

PakRak Burger stall. Diana on the left, Shahir in the middle and their relative Jai on the right. Click here for their Facebook page!

Husband-and-wife combo Shahir and Diana along with Jai work the grill of the PakRak burger stall from 8.30pm up to 12.30am 6 days a week. This is on top of Diana working as a marketing executive at a local cinema and Shahir as a procurement executive for an oil and gas company. Jai also has a day job at a courier company.

PakRak began out of Shahir’s love for burgers, with the few hundred ringgit they get each night definitely a bonus as well. Despite their day jobs, the couple experimented for about a week with burger recipes, with other family members as their labrats. You can tell they’re really excited for PakRak to work as they were still really energetic working the grill late at night. The couple said that if PakRak becomes a success they may even consider quitting their jobs to run it full-time. In fact, once business stabilises, buying their own house could even be a possibility.

Currently they’ve been saving up the extra cash from working the grill. With elderly parents about to retire, the couple look ready to support them financially, with their business already taking off. While running a second business cost them RM30,000 and more as an initial investment, they’ve already been saving costs through other methods.

“We get our supplies from a wholesaler. Hypermarkets are expensive, so we went around several places looking for the best prices and now save about 20-30% in terms of getting supplies,” – Shahir and Diana, in an interview

Running PakRak has meant going out with friends less, but they’ve found a solution for that too.

“Nowadays, we can’t afford going to cafes with friends or colleagues, as each time RM50 gone. …. Last time we’d lepak with our friends, but since we opened up this stall our friends lepak here laa,” – Shahir and Diana, in an interview

BTW, PakRak’s burgers seriously ‘rak’, and yes we tried them (it was so good). They’ve kindly asked for a plug so make sure to check out their Facebook page HERE! If ugaiz wanna try their tasty burgers they can be found near Atria Mall, in front of the Damansara Jaya post office!

“They put mustard inside the patty omg so dem yummy,” – our editor-in-chief Chak as he orders another 2 burgers to go

Needs a 'lil.... CILISOS....

Needs a ‘lil…. CILISOS….

6. Devon Chew, 23 – The singer who also does Uber

Devon is a musician who also does some work as a driver for Uber. He’s been doing the Uber rounds for over a year now, and although he only began doing it cos he was curious, eventually, Uber helped Devon out a lot, as being a musician in Malaysia doesn’t exactly pay him enough juuuust yet.

“Doing Uber is quite rewarding because I earn enough to help my parents pay the bills while having the extra time to spend on music and my family. It’s difficult to live just doing music until you go international. Every musician I know has two to three jobs,” – Devon, in an interview

In fact, Devon used to have a desk job on top of being a musician when he started out Uber, but Uber paid him enough while having flexible enough hours, as he can choose himself what hours to drive for Uber. Devon even says that working the second job has taught him life skills too.

“I’ve learned to work smart with Uber, cos that insures better returns and lesser hours. Being online mostly during peak hours, avoiding the traffic jams, knowing where and when to place myself really affects how much you can earn if you don’t know these little things,” – Devon, already wise at 23

Anyway, if you’d also like to know about his main job, check out Devon and his band Back2Basixx on Youtube here as well as their Facebook page here!

In fact, it’s not just Devon who works with Uber while also having another day job. Many people do Uber as a way to get some quick income on the side.

“I found that most, if not all of them, are driving passengers on a part time basis in between jobs or after working hours,” – Jacky Yap, in an article for Vulcan Post

With Uber becoming a source of income for a lot of Malaysians who without it, would find it hard to cope with the rising cost of living, perhaps SPAD should look towards finding a way to allow Uber to operate legally now.


Not everyone can afford to work just one job

Malaysians have seen a rise in their income levels in recent time, but despite that, a lot of stuff that we buy on a daily basis still costs quite a lot of money. The GST, toll rate increase and public transport fare rise hasn’t helped out Malaysians either. Even something as necessary as food can cost up to RM600 a month. Because of this, many in urban areas like KL have resorted to working two jobs to help cope with the rising cost of living.

Don't worry tho, Ahmad Maslan fried rice will save you 6% on food. GST-Free kan

Don’t worry tho, Ahmad Maslan fried rice will save you 6% on food. GST-free kan? Pic from Ahmad Maslan’s Twitter

However, there are some that warn against doing two jobs, despite Ahmad Maslan’s suggestion. Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary-general N. Gopal Krishnam warned against Malaysians working two jobs for it may make things worse for the common worker.

“They won’t have quality time with their family, and we worry that more social problems will occur in the long run. If the government continues to promote the two jobs scheme, it will affect the overall productivity of the organisation they are working for, and the nation at large,” – Gopal, as quoted by Free Malaysia Today

While minimum wage was increased in the last Budget, many still argued that the new minimum wage isn’t enough. Gopal and the MTUC had argued that the increase didn’t match the increase in living costs that had gone up significantly in recent times.

So instead of just accepting that the poorer should work more, Malaysians and our gomen should instead put more effort in making sure that all of us have enough to at least afford basic necessities without having to work long hours everyday. However, if anyone would like to improve upon their financial condition, there’s no problem doing so. In fact, if any of ugaiz do work 2 jobs, leave a comment below regarding your experiences with #2kerja.

So as Malaysians welcome a brand new year, some of us living comfortably with just that ONE job (even if it might have 3 job titles) might wanna be a bit more grateful for what we already have.


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