Saturday, May 09, 2020

Malaysia's 13% jobless: Prospects and challenges


Puchong, 16 Ramadan/May 9: While those guys up there are playing yet another episode of their ugly, filthy games of throne, the real folks down here are struggling to bring food to the table and keep a roof over their heads. 

Unlike those up there, who don't have to worry about basic needs, the men in the street are losing their battle. Businesses are struggling to survive and when they are forced to shut, and more companies are being forced to shut, workers lose jobs.



Source: The Malay Mail

And more folks will lose their livelihood if those political scumbags, to borrow lawyer-activist Matthias Chang's word, don't start caring for other than themselves. The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) says the country is looking at a 13 per cent unemployment rate as a result of Covid-19, the Movement Control Order (Phase 4 ending May 12), and the global economic fallout.

The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research says that's about 2.4 million Malaysians who can - and want to - work but will not have jobs! (As in February, according to our Department of Statistics, our unemployment rate was 3.3 per cent or around 525,000 people). 

I hope Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan stays clear from the scumbags' ugly, and filthy games of thrones. Someone has to deal with the unprecedented unemployment mess. And, YB,  please don't pooh-pooh the MEF's numbers (or MIER's) like your predecessor did when he was in power (and when he wasn't sitting on the Human Resources Development Fund people to sue some poor journalists for reasons best known to himself and a particular advisor of his). 

Like it or not, retrenchment is going to be part of this so-called, post-pandemic new normal. 

The thing is, what do we do about it?

First and foremost, ensure that workers who are retrenched get fair compensation as provided for under the employment laws. That money will buy food on the table and roof over their heads and, yes, open up new opportunities for them. Provide the environment for every employee to re-skill, up-skill and be redeployed (and make sure the retrenched don't spend their retrenchment money unwisely). The HRDF was created for this purpose (not for suing journalists), with employers contributing 1 per cent of their wage bills for employee training, retraining and the sort of contingencies like the one we're facing now.  

Start a retrenchment fund. And, like the MEF says, help businesses stay afloat. Handouts are welcomed, we're not shy to say. The current subsidies aren't going to cut it. The Federation of Malaysian Manufactures (FMM) says three-quarters of respondents in its survey feel that the wages subsidy given by the government isn't adequate to retain employees. Eight our of 10 of the companies surveyed say they will have to lay off at least 30 per cent of their workforce.

These past few months, I've seen hundreds of my fellow journalists lose their jobs. Most of them got their compensation and learned new craft (like driving Grab) to survive while some joined forces to start news portals (like Bebas News) to keep their passion for journalism alive. The saddest bit is when a publishing company has to fold permanently, as in the case of Blue Inc. which was for years the home of Malaysia's glossy magazines. That was an example of a total loss. I would rather companies lay off some workers (and fairly compensate them) in order for their business to survive the current challenges (with the remaining of the workforce) and to thrive (and to hire) again in the forseeeable future, as in the case of, perhaps, Media Prima.

9 comments:

  1. Retrenchment will be new normal. Unemployed uni grad will will be flooded. Sad to say it will be mostly bumi. With limited capacity there will be depression and hope glc and gic headhoncho could donate thier salary to these as most citizen gave nothing to give.Forget tollfree, ptptn free and other goodies that we wish just food on the table is enough.MY wish you luck

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've got several big funds that should be able to help both retrenched workers and companies that deserve a leg up. EPF, HRDF, Socso, KWAP, more the a dozen billionaires with their foundations. And an entire network of GLCs with Khazanah and PNB up there. There should be more than enough to go around. Don't even have to call in Petronas ...

      Delete
  2. EPF,Socso and Kwap, TH and PNB are peoples saving. Govenment should not treat these entities as thier purse. It is very irresnponsible if they do. Read scmp today, a sad situation that we will experiance. SA raised vat from 5 to 15% and removal of cola from civil servants. As said before our civil servant is too big and too extravagence. Private sector have thier natural way of austerity. We have close to 4 millions
    Foreign workers and it is about time that local took over. This is not the time for being too choosy. It is about having food on the table. MY et al must work hard and work fast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EPF, Socso and KWAP are for rainy day and I think these are rainy days. As for Malaysians being too dependent on foreign workers, I don't see any other way, Especially if bringing in those migrant labour is, in itself, continue to be a gold mine for the selected few.

      Delete
  3. Politi Scheiss11:05 pm

    The situation on the economic front is grim, though we will survive.

    Also, in a rather ironic way, journalism is a sunset profession in terms of it being a viable paying career for most, not only in Malaysia but worldwide.

    On the ugly/filthy game of thrones:-

    I wholeheartedly agree that right now, we are in a war-like national emergency situation, which is not the time to play politics for personal or family gain, in the name of "democracy", when all Malaysians are faced with a threat to our existence.

    The government right now is doing its best to contain the spread of this deadly and debilitating disease and there are people who are threatening to throw us into political chaos, which can only undermine such efforts.

    Whilst I am not a BN supporter as such, however from what I have seen of the behaviour of Pakatan politicians, it becomes increasingly clear that behind all their talk of "democracy", "human rights", "justice", "freedom of speech", "freedom of press", "freedom of public assembly", "reformasi" and so forth is just their lust for power and position.

    In the end, they are just opportunist, feudal-style warlords battling each other behind a facade of Westminister-style democratic institutions.

    Greece is said to be the birthplace of democracy.

    Well, let me leave you with a short video clip of what the great Greek philosopher thought about democracy.

    Why Socrates Hated Democracy
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLJBzhcSWTk

    I wholeheartedly agree that right now, we are in a war-like national emergency situation, which is not the time to play politics for personal or family gain, in the name of "democracy", when all Malaysians are faced with a threat to our existence.

    The government right now is doing its best to contain the spread of this deadly and debilitating disease and there are people who are threatening to throw us into political chaos, which can only undermine such efforts.

    Whilst I am not a BN supporter as such, however from what I have seen of the behaviour of Pakatan politicians, it becomes increasingly clear that behind all their talk of "democracy", "human rights", "justice", "freedom of speech", "freedom of press", "freedom of public assembly", "reformasi" and so forth is just their lust for power and position.

    In the end, they are just opportunist, feudal-style warlords battling each other behind a facade of Westminister-style democratic institutions.

    Greece is said to be the birthplace of democracy.

    Well, let me leave you with a short video clip of what the great Greek philosopher thought about democracy.

    Why Socrates Hated Democracy
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLJBzhcSWTk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dr Mahathir, when asked years ago why he did not take action against his cabinet ministers for alleged corruption, said if he did that he would be left with no cabinet. I wonder if he meant to exclude himself since the Prime Minister is also a member of the Cabinet.

      Delete
  4. IT.Scheiss8:04 pm

    Talking of journalists losing jobs and the decline of the media industry, this news of the resignations of Star Media Group CEO after just nine months raises questions as to how well Star will do in its latest quarterly report expected to be released soon.

    Star Media Group confirms CEO Andreas Vogiatzakis' resignation.

    https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/star-media-group-confirms-ceo-andreas-vogiatzakis-resignation

    STAR shares perked up a bit briefly but has turned down more recently.

    https://www.malaysiastock.biz/Stock-Chart.aspx?securitycode=6084&mode=D

    On 1 March 2020, its Chief Financial Office Ragesh Rajendran resigned.

    https://malaysiastock.biz/Company-Announcement.aspx?id=1207495

    This doesn't look good for Star Media Group.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does not look good at all, I agree. But the entire media industry in this country is looking more than a big grim.
      One silver lining I saw this morning, though:

      https://marketing-interactive.com/media-prima-s-johan-ishak-joins-awesome-tv-as-md

      Awesome TV! That's awesome lah.

      Delete
    2. IT.Scheiss12:49 am

      All the best to him.

      Delete

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