PUTRAJAYA: The government’s policy today is to give priority to the employment of Malaysians, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Aware about fears concerning a deluge of foreign workers in the country, he said the government had taken a number of measures to ensure that foreign workers were only employed if really needed by sectors that find it difficult to get local workers, mainly those categorised as 3D (Dirty, Dangerous and Difficult).
Dr Mahathir said that the presence of foreign workers was due to the attitude of Malaysians who did not want to do certain types of work, even though these actually could be done by them.
“So, these opportunities are grabbed by foreigners. In the end, they will become rich and we remain the same or become poor,” he said when officiating the 2019 Workers Day celebration at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre here today.
Dr Mahathir said the government was also aware of the unemployment rate among youths and understood the need to empower the workforce and harness local talent.
Met by reporters after the event, Dr Mahathir said although wages were very low in the 3D sector, citizens should grab job opportunities instead of staying unemployed.
“Pay is low, but if they (citizens) don’t work, there will not be any pay at all. We make the choice - if we work, we get paid.
“We must remember that we work for the nation, to develop our country. If we do not want to work, others will get the money, (and) we lose,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said it (if Malaysians took up employment in the 3D sector) would also prevent the outflow of funds.
He noted that the effort should also involve people from all walks of life, including increasing the participation of women in the workforce.
In the era of Internet of Things (IoT), the new version of JobsMalaysia 2.0 portal developed by the Ministry of Human Resources, offered a flexible job search platform for people to increase their job placement chance and reduce mismatch, he said.
“People can also get the services of JobsMalaysia through the career carnivals held regularly from time to time,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said that the Manpower Department had managed to accommodate 48,372 graduates and 122,868 non-graduates in different sectors of employment through various activities such as career carnivals, client accounts, open interviews, inter-agency collaboration programmes, placement programmes and special groups.
He said that the Ministry of Human Resources and its agencies such as Talent Corporation (TalentCorp) and Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad focused on Malaysians through a number of initiatives.
Dr Mahathir said among the initiatives was to attract and retain female workers by encouraging the employers to implement the Work-Life Practices (WLPs) concept towards a better balance integration between work and life as well as providing a family-friendly environment.
For that purpose, he said the government had provided an incentive of income tax exemption for one year for those back in the workforce between Oct 27, 2017, and Dec 31, 2020.
“By the end of 2018, a total of 147 organisations in Malaysia have benefited from the implementation of WLPs initiatives,” he said.
Other than that, Dr Mahathir said upskilling of women who returned to the workforce after leaving it was also implemented through the Career Comeback Programme (CCP).
He explained that from 1993 to 2018, a total of RM6.38 billion in training grant payments were channelled to local employers with the status of small and medium-sized enterprises and large companies which contributed levies to Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad.
Dr Mahathir said the channelling of funds was to implement 1.2 million up-skilling and re-skilling training for local worker all over the country.
Themed ‘Pekerja Amanah Aspirasi Negara’ (Trustworthy Workers Nation’s Aspiration), it was the first Labour Day celebration since the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government took over the country’s leadership on May 9 last year.
The prime minister explained that the theme emphasised on how Malaysians, especially workers, should perform their duties and responsibilities with the principle of trust and integrity to spur the prosperity of the country which had diverse cultures, races and religions.
He said a good tripartite relationship, between the government, workers and employers was the driver to the country’s economic growth.
“Although there may be times that we have a disagreement, eventually the win-win solution will be achieved and this will benefit the people and the country,” he said.
The ceremony was attended by some 5,000 public and private sector employees. Also present were Human Resource Minister M. Kula Segaran, Cabinet ministers, secretaries-general of ministries, representatives of the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs), the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) and Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF). – Bernama