Background: The Movement Control Order (MCO) due to COVID-19 has brought people’s life to almost a standstill. How people across different ages and income groups are mentally and physically adjusting to the unprecedented situation in Malaysia is yet to be documented. Hence, an empirical study was conducted to capture this real-time situation during COVID-19 MCO.
Objective: To describe the mental and emotional wellbeing of Malaysians and how they care for themselves and their family during the COVID-19 pandemic and during MCO.
Methods: A survey on 3,288 respondents was conducted towards the end of the first phase of MCO. The questionnaire was administered through various online social media platforms using snowball and convenience sampling.
Results: About 90% of the respondents gave their priority to health needs and in providing food, shelter and clothing for their family, while education is at the bottom of their priority list. The overall index of mental wellbeing and emotional stability went beyond 57% up to 95%, indicating that people are mentally and emotionally disturbed with COVID-19. The index ranges between 49% up until 90% in the ability to care for themselves and family.
Conclusion: Health needs were at the top of the priority list of the high income group and least in the low income group. While for the low income group, the top most priority concerns their financial stability. Education was given the least priority by all income groups. Their greatest fear is the infection of COVID-19 that would harm their family’s health. They were also stressed with the COVID-19 pandemic that could affect the Malaysian economy and thus worried about losing their sources of income if this pandemic prolongs over an indefinite period.