SENIOR citizens are urging employers to hire those who are keen to return to the workforce because they can contribute to the nation while earning a living.
Hussein Abdullah, 63, who lost his job as a security manager in 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, found himself checking into the Anjung Kembara, Pusat Transit Gelandangan in Kuala Lumpur.
Hussein, a Peranakan-Chinese convert, has been staying at the transit centre for sometime now and is taking religious lessons there.
He hopes the private sector will hire more seniors like him because they are still able and capable.
Hussein and 200 transit centre residents and guests from marginalised communities, including refugee children, were treated to a Chinese New Year breakfast sponsored by The Ascott Limited.
“While the transit centre is suitable at this point of my life, I am still looking for a job in the city.
“Meanwhile, I am going for religious lessons here. I have learned so much and will be graduating soon. After that, I plan to go back to my hometown if I do not secure a job in Kuala Lumpur,” said the father of two teenagers.
Hussein said he was still physically strong, was healthy and capable of holding a job but companies were not keen to hire him due to his age.
“I was a former government servant and later, joined the private sector.
“After Covid-19, many companies were not eager to hire seniors like me.
“We have a lot to offer and instead of trying to bring in foreigners, we should be given the priority when it comes to hiring workers,” he said.
Another senior citizen, who did not want to be named, said he was willing to work if given the chance.
Hussein said senior citizens were often not considered for jobs based on their age and taken advantage of by employers with perks being removed or offered lower pay.
Meanwhile, Institute Onn Jaafar (IOJ) chief executive officer Charles Mohan said there was more promising and positive response from the corporate sector in supporting charitable causes since the 15th General Election last November.
IOJ first started out by giving free breakfast to the homeless and the marginalised communities.
The non-profit organisation has since branched out to encompass 13 other charitable causes nationwide.
“Following the elections, the private sector is confident of reaching out to support charitable causes,” said Charles.
He added that Anjung Kembara has 75% occupancy.
“IOJ is planning to branch out to Perak to aid the marginalised community there.
“We also have a programme with the Orang Asli and disabled community. The plan is to have one IOJ base in every state,” said Charles.
Meanwhile Ascott Malaysia Country general manager Mondi Mecja said the company has 15 properties around the country and each month, it carried out its outreach programme for marginalised groups.
“We are also keen to hire some of these homeless folk who would like to work with us. We should hire locals instead of foreigners,” said Mecja.