By P PREM KUMAR / Pic By TMR
The federal government will not renege on its election pledge to create one million job opportunities for Malaysians by 2023.
Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran (picture) said the promise was not an empty talk, instead proper planning is currently in place to create jobs in a healthy ecosystem.
He also said the government is capable of delivering on the promise, but is now facing the problem of insufficient manpower.
“The problem is not the figures or job availability, the problem is full employment as the unemployment rate is only 3.4%.
“There is a shortage of workers, efforts are being taken to increase the pool of skilled workers as this will raise the nation’s income,” he said in a question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Kulasegaran was replying to a supplementary question from MP Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (BN-Bagan Datuk), who asked if the government will keep its promise of creating a million job opportunities with the minimum pay at RM2,500 as contained in the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto.
A precursor to creating more jobs is improving the pay scale, which the government has initiated by raising the minimum wage nationwide to RM1,100.
“Raising the minimum wage (MW) to RM1,500 is a policy of the government, which certainly can be achieved in five years.
“The first step has been taken, which is raising the minimum wage from RM1,000 to RM1,100 effective January next year,” he added.
According to Kulasegaran, there were 137,400 unemployed graduates in 2017, an increase of 4% compared to 131,600 in 2016.
Among the programmes implemented to tackle this issue were upgrading the JobsMalaysia portal, job matching schemes, job fairs and walk-in-interviews, he said.
As for retrenchment, the minister noted that from Jan 1 to Sept 30, 2018, some 15,903 workers lost their jobs, saying the figure was about half for the same period in 2017, which saw 31,945 workers laid off.