As joblessness rises, HR Minister says M'sians must take any job available

PETALING JAYA: As the unemployment rate is expected to rise further, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan says Malaysians must change their mindset and accept any job that they can get.

He said that it was better to work in the so-called 3D (dirty, dangerous and difficult) jobs than to be unemployed as long as one could put food on the table.

“There needs to be a change in mindset so that the rakyat will accept whatever jobs (are available). There are enough opportunities, ” he said in a live conversation with Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Facebook on Tuesday (May 12).

Saravanan said the ministry and the agencies under it like the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) and the Skills Development Fund Corporation (PTPK) would organise training to reskill and upskill workers.

"Before this, foreign workers were working only in the lowly sectors. But today, they have become skilled workers. These sectors should be taken over by locals, ” he said.

Malaysia reported a 17.1% increase in unemployed persons to 610,500 in March this year as a result of the the movement control Order (MCO) that hit businesses as the government sought to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Saravanan said that all parties — employees and employers — should be sincere and not threaten one another as it was no longer business as usual.

He asked why some employers preferred to hire foreigners over locals, and said that he believed some employers preferred foreign workers as they wouldn't have to make contributions towards the Employers Provident Fund (EPF) and the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

“I'm just asking employers not to take advantage of them. Pay the workers a good wage, and they will work. Don’t give the excuse of a small percentage of locals not wanting to work, ” he said.

He also urged Malaysians to consider job opportunities overseas, giving the example of Japan where he said the basic salary was RM8,500 for a bottom-level job.

He said he was in discussions with the Japanese embassy on employment opportunities there.

“All Malaysians across the board have to change their mindset and accept change for survival. This is not the time to talk about plans and dreams. That has to be put aside, ” he said.

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