MUAR, Dec 13 — The government, through the National Employment Council (NEC), will strive to create 500,000 jobs despite the country being in a dire economic situation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said this was because the number of those unemployed this year has increased to 700,000 or 5.6 per cent compared to only three per cent the previous year.
“The number of those unemployed has risen, those running businesses had to close shop and suffer losses as the people have no income. Also, due to this, some had to lay off workers or stop hiring new ones.
“And this is why the government set up an employment council, which I am chairing, with the aim of ensuring the country’s economy continues to be more organised and to find ways to help the people, who are now mostly unemployed and have no income,” he said.
The prime minister said this in his speech at the Pagoh parliamentary Deepavali celebrations at Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) Ladang Temiang Renchong here today.
Muhyiddin said although he was aware that the target could be quite difficult to achieve, the government had outlined various proactive measures, including offering tax incentives to attract foreign investors.
“It is now rather difficult to find investors even though Malaysia prior to this had been the country of choice because we have good infrastructure facilities, a large workforce, highways, industrial sites and proper utilities.
“So, if we do not work hard now and take bold steps to offer for more incentives, they will not invest here because the whole world at this time is also sourcing for investments,” he said.
If they opt for other countries to invest in, the government would not be able to provide employment opportunities, Muhyiddin said.
At the same time, he urged the Human Resources Ministry and other relevant ministries to utilise the RM2 billion fund provided by the government to train more young people, especially skills training.
Muhyiddin said there were many graduates and school leavers who failed to land jobs these days, but expressed confidence that with skills acquired, they stand a better chance of securing employment.
The prime minister also said that standard operating procedures (SOPs) under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) had been relaxed to boost the country’s economic activities.
Although there are parties who were not agreeable to this, he said the decision was taken after careful and detailed study.
“The economy is not fully recovered, not many customers at the road stalls, shopping complexes are empty, many hotels shut operations due to lack of guests.
“That is why I decided recently to give some leeway and allow Kuala Lumpur folks to visit Desaru in Johor and those in Johor to travel to the East Coast.
“I checked and the hotels are now full… that’s a good sign. The pandemic is not over but we are allowing people to travel, on the condition all SOPs are followed,” Muhyiddin said.
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