KUCHING: The Sarawak Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has called for job creation to be a priority in the state following the release of 40 Sarawakians from detention in Cambodia.
Its secretary Andrew Lo said thousands of Sarawakian youths have been seeking better jobs outside the state over the years.
"There will always be cases of workers duped by promises of high-paying jobs overseas, especially in more economically advanced countries.
"But it is embarrassing that our youths believe that Cambodia offers better opportunities than Sarawak," he said on Monday (Feb 18).
Lo noted that Sarawak did not have a minister or assistant minister overseeing human resource development, which he said was key to the state's progress.
"We need to create a skilled workforce, propel human capital development and address long-standing issues on foreign workers, labour productivity, job empowerment and industrial relations, and to develop a holistic blueprint of our human capital needs," he said.
He added that the state's timber and oil palm industries did not translate into decent jobs for locals, with the majority of their workforce comprising foreigners.
"The creation of decent jobs must be the priority. Otherwise, the 40 youths will not be the last to believe that countries like Cambodia offer better opportunities than Sarawak," he said.