Friday, 18 March 2016

6,534 jobs lost in Malaysia since start of 2016, now is not the time to be choosy !

About 78% of jobs lost come from finance, insurance sectors


PETALING JAYA: A total of 6,534 workers from 114 companies have lost their jobs since the start of the year, with 5,118 or about 78% coming from the finance and insurance sectors.

The number, which is more than a sixth of the 38,499 workers retrenched last year, reflect the current economic downturn and challenging business climate.

The Labour Department, a unit under the Human Resources Ministry told theSun today it had received 115 retrenchment notifications from local employers since early this year until March 10.

It is a legal duty for employers to notify the department of every retrenchment activity.

The five top sectors involved in the exercise are manufacturing (22 notifications), mining and quarry (21 notifications), retail (13 notifications), construction (11 notifications), as well as finance and insurance (7 notifications) sectors.

In the manufacturing sector, about 437 workers were retrenched during the period, followed by 395 workers in the mining and quarry sector, 184 workers in retail sector and 155 workers in the construction sector.

The department added that it had received a total of 13 notifications from oil and gas sector (mining and quarry), which has affected 241 workers in total to date.

The department also revealed that professional and administration workers accounted the majority of workers affected, representing 72% or 4,720 of the total, while the remaining 28% or 1,814 were clerical workers and below.

Commenting on retrenchment laws and benefits, the department said although retrenchment is a managerial prerogative and there is no legal provision to prohibit any company from cutting their workforce, there are salient points within employment related regulations that sets conditions when an employer conducts a retrenchment exercise.

For instance, Section 60N of the Employment Act 1955 states that foreign workers should be the first to go in a staff reduction exercise.

Meanwhile, Regulation 6 states that employers are obligated to pay lay-off benefits based on the following conditions:

  • » 10 days wages for each year of service, for those with one to two years of service:
  • » 15 days wages for each year of service, for those with more than two years but less than five years service; and
  • » 20 days of wages for each year of service, for those with more than five years of service.

Employees not covered by the Employment Act 1955 may seek redress for possible remedy under the Industrial Relations Act 1967 if they are not paid any lay-off benefits.

The Labour department said the government facilitates retrenched workers who are seeking employment through an online portal services JobsMalaysia and its nationwide network of JobsMalaysia centres, which operate under the purview of the unit.

"In addition, the department through JobsMalaysia also conducts regular job/employment carnivals that aim to promote potential job vacancies for Malaysians including those affected through recent retrenchments," it added.

Wan Ilaika Mohd Zakaria sunbiz@thesundaily.com

Now is not the time to be choosy


Times are tough, jobs are hard to come by and more and more are flooding the job market as companies fold and lay off staff. For Malaysians, it's times to wake up and realize this means hard, even dirty, work.


What we need now iss the creation of jobs - a shot in the arm for the economy - and for Malaysians to understand that they have to get down and dirty before they can make a success of life.


THE old woman roams the back streets off Old Klang Road. With her slightly hunched body, and a smile on her face, she rummages through the dustbins in the alleys, digging into the bins with her stick.

She does dirty work, but she stays clean. She uses the sharp end of the stick to pick up the aluminium cans and plastic bottles. Her hands are only for cardboard and pieces of clean paper.

We call her Latha, for want of a name. She’s a Malaysian Chinese, from Klang.

Unlike some people’s stereotyped Chinese, she works hard, she puts in long hours and she makes just enough money to be comfor­table – by her standards. Thus, the smile on her wrinkled face.

But not all can do that.

The story of S. Sellamah is one such. She was desperate to feed her child. And she stole a 2kg packet of Milo. She was caught, fined and jailed. Now, she is on record as an ex-convict and lawyers are trying to get that jail sentence expunged. It doesn’t seem right that someone who stole so little out of desperation should have to live life with a record like that hanging over her head.

After all, I believe the guys in Milo would be happy to give her a carton of the stuff. They are people with big hearts. I know.

Over in Penang, a man also stole fruits and drinks, again to feed his children. His wife was in a coma and he had no money. He was caught, too.

But his story is one that warms the heart. The general manager of the hypermarket took pity on him, checked out his story and offered him a job instead. Now, the man has a job and his children can have decent meals. Isn’t that a wonderful ending to a sad story?

We are living in times of hardship. Prices are soaring. Jobs are getting scarce. Those with jobs are just happy to hang on to them. Companies are folding.

So many people have lost their jobs. Many are not even getting compensation for the jobs they lost. One media company actually told retrenched employees to go to court to get their compensation.

According to a report, more than 6,500 people have been let go from their jobs just this year. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. Even Petronas is letting go of 1,000 employees.

And we are barely three months into 2016. Things are likely to get worse, far worse, be­fore they get any better. So, it would do to have a heart and spare a thought for the jobless.

Yes, there are thieves who would steal at the first chance – which is why many supermarkets lock up items like Milo tins – but if the cases are genuine, surely having a heart for the poor can’t be a bad thing.

Talking of the jobless, a bunch of schoolmates from Penang are now embarking on a plan to help them. They are setting up a portal for odd jobs. They call it dojob. The idea behind it is that people need cash in hand for immediate spending.

No CVs, no interviews. You need a waiter for the party you are having? You may be able to find someone there. A gardener to cut the overgrown grass? Someone with basic know­ledge of plumbing to fix a leaky pipe? Stuff like that.

I think it’s a great idea. And what’s more. It’s free. It’s just a platform to get a hirer and hiree to meet up.

Of course, there are questions to be answered – like how would people without jobs be able to access the internet to look for these jobs? But that’s for those guys to figure out.

But the aim is noble. It could help people like the two desperate shoplifters to find some quick cash and tide things over until a proper job comes along.

With Malaysians now des­­perately in need of jobs, it’s a good thing that the 1.5 million Bangladeshi worker deal is off. To have foreigners take away the few jobs will only make things worse, not to mention the almost RM30bil that’s sent back to their homes.

What we need now is the creation of jobs – a shot in the arm for the economy – and for Malaysians to understand that they have to get down and dirty before they can make a success of life. For most of us, our forefathers did just that.

There are many Bangladeshis who are now running their own motor repair shops and car washes. They started as lowly-paid wor­kers and now are employers to Malaysians! It’s time for Malaysians to wake up. Times are hard – and that calls for hard work.

By Dorairaj Nadason The Star

The writer, who can be reached at raj@the star.com.my knows all about hard work. When The Star was shut down in 1987, he had to be a carpenter’s assistant, lugging lumber up five floors. No lifts, just the stairs.


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