KUALA LUMPUR, 28 Jan 2009: More than 10,000 Malaysians have lost their jobs since 1 Jan, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director, Shamsuddin Bardan, disclosed today.
He told Bernama that more were expected to be jobless in the days ahead as companies particularly in the manufacturing sector struggle to keep their businesses afloat.
In an urgent appeal to the government, he said it was of utmost importance for the second stimulus economic package to be released fast so that companies could know clearly where they stood.
The government released a RM7 billion economic stimulus package late last year and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had promised a second package soon.
Shamsuddin said the economic downturn this time was much worse than the one in 1997 because it was more widespread and involved the major parts of the world.
The situation he said was more critical as almost 600,000 local new job seekers were flooding the job market every year.
This comprised of university graduates, diploma holders, skilled workers and fresh school leavers.
Another factor that added to the woes of the jobless was the presence of 1.5 million to 2 million illegal foreigners who were also vying for the same jobs.
He said the MEF believed that the economic condition would take between one to two years to improve.
“In the meantime, it would be best for the government to assist businesses and jobless Malaysians to tide over these bad times.”
He suggested that the government as a long term measure deal with the situation in the following way:
* Repatriate all illegal workers to their country of origin
* Replace legal foreign workers in stages with Malaysians
* Freeze foreign recruitment
* Give job priority to Malaysians.
He hoped that government would be firm and bold in instituting measures to face the economic reality the nation was now facing.