Weathering the Storm: How One Malaysian Survived Life during the MCO

man in red shirt riding bicycle on road during daytime

From law graduate to logistics officer turned partner of a legal firm, Hilmi Mazlan’s story of perseverance to provide for his family during the MCO is nothing short of amazing!

This year alone has seen challenges for workers throughout Malaysia as jobs have either been lost or companies faced closure due to the pandemic.

Here’s how young dad, Hilmi Mazlan took it upon himself to look for alternative jobs to provide for his family during the MCO despite his legal background.

In 2015, Hilmi graduated with a law degree from the University of Hertfordshire and continued with the Certificate in Legal Practice at Brickfields Asia College. Hilmi had the opportunity to complete his chambering at a law firm but during his last month of pupillage, the Government announced a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19. Yet, Hilmi had other worries on his mind, too. He had to find alternative jobs to care and provide for his wife who was due to give birth to their first child.

In an interview with Good News Malaysia, Hilmi recalls those tough times. “In April (my last month of pupillage), the MCO was still in force. I had to find another job post-pupillage and in between getting called to the Malaysian Bar, as my wife was due to deliver our first baby”.

“It was tough at first, knowing that my baby will be born soon, and I had to get a proper job post- pupillage as I couldn’t bear my wife taking on all our living costs”.

Hilmi (middle) with his family after his Long Call ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur High Court

Hilmi (middle) with his family after his Long Call ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur High Court

Hilmi with his colleagues at J&T Express

Hilmi with his colleagues at J&T Express

Hilmi has no regrets of working as a Logistics Officer during the MCO to provide for his family

Hilmi has no regrets of working as a Logistics Officer during the MCO to provide for his family

That’s when Hilmi landed a job as a part-time driver for LalaMove during the first round of CMCO. Soon, he had to look for another source of income once customer orders started to decline. His wife chanced upon a social media post that J&T Express needed manpower due to an increase in online purchase orders as many Malaysians were stuck at home. Hilmi applied for the position of a Logistics Officer and was hired the very next day!

Many of us may think twice to take on any job other than our dream job, yet Hilmi had no qualms about doing what it takes to provide for his family, even if that meant taking on work as a driver or Logistics Officer despite his legal background.

In fact, Hilmi says that it is nothing new to him – “When I returned from the UK with a law degree, I was an Uber Driver for six months before I got a job as a paralegal in a law firm”.

“The same goes for logistics, I don’t mind driving for long hours to various destinations”, he adds.

His friends and family were equally supportive of his decision and were even grateful that he was able to secure a job despite the pandemic and high unemployment rate in Malaysia.

Hilmi considers his experience in logistics at J&T Express as being a different type of frontliner, which gave him a sense of what it felt like to be a hero to others during this trying times, especially when customers were grateful and thanked him for his services. He even equalled deliveries to a cool job just like Jason Statham’s character in the movie, ‘The Transporter’.

On a more serious note, his time at J&T Express was truly a humbling experience and made him a more grounded individual. He witnessed on a first-hand basis how tough it was even getting a job during the pandemic – “Every week, I saw so many people come to J&T asking for a job….there are a lot of people who need to get back on their feet again.  I am thankful for whatever I have right now because not everybody out there are blessed with the same things I have.”

Things have certainly changed for the better, as Hilmi is currently a partner of a law firm, Messrs. Firdaus Shanti Bhupin. Hilmi explains that while working at J&T Express, he actively looked out for jobs in the legal field through various job portals.

Hilmi’s story teaches us the importance of being adaptable in challenging times. When asked what advice he would give people facing similar challenges, he says, “Never ever give up and never stop looking for a better future. There is always light at the end of a dark tunnel.”

He encourages fresh graduates to improve on their soft skills and not just rely on their academic qualifications. He strongly feels that fresh graduates should not be too selective about looking for a job, especially in these challenging times. “Each job provides valuable skills and experience. That’s the most important thing you can gain during your working life”.

Wise words, indeed!

We commend Hilmi for his resilience and wish him much success in his legal career.

Hilmi at Messrs. Firdaus Shanti Bhupin

Hilmi at Messrs. Firdaus Shanti Bhupin