Pandemic caused close to 100,000 to lose jobs

CLOSE to 100,000 people have lost their jobs since January this year, Deputy Human Resources Minister Awang Hashim said.

This figure was based on the Employment Insurance System (EIS) which showed that 99,696 employees were laid off as of Nov 27, he said.

They included highly skilled workers in the managerial category (13,109), professionals (26,079) as well as technicians and associate professionals (19,095), with salaries of RM4,000 and above.

“All those who earned RM4,000 and above per month are not listed in the Wage Subsidy Programme that helps those who have lost their jobs.

“However, those in the management category who have had their services terminated are still covered under EIS, subject to a maximum pay of RM4,000,” he said to a question from M. Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat).

Kulasegaran had asked why many people were being laid off despite the implementation of the Wage Subsidy and Employment Retention programmes.

Awang said although the government had implemented various initiatives and economic stimulus packages to mitigate the pandemic’s impact, layoffs were inevitable in certain sectors.

He said the factors include closure of businesses, downsizing, voluntary separation schemes, mutual agreement separation schemes, critical financial problems, partial closures as well as company takeovers and relocations.

There were employers in certain sectors who were forced to lay off staff due to unavoidable external factors, Awang added.

“Sectors affected include manufacturing, accommodation, food and beverage, wholesale and retail, transportation and others. An estimated 75% of the total number of workers who lost their jobs were from the B40 group, earning RM4,000 and below.”

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