Malaysia is one of Asia's biggest employers of foreign labour. But recently, cases of deaths, abuse and forced labour have come to light. What is going on? Who is protecting these migrant workers?
BY NG AI FERN
Retrenchments in Malaysia could last until 2017, a Cabinet member said, adding that Malaysians worried about losing their jobs due to the gloomy economic climate should look for work in other fields.
Expecting bad retrenchment in the oil and gas industry in next few months, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot said Malaysians in that sector should look for new jobs as the government could do little about the global economy affected by the plunge in oil prices.
“(Retrenchments) will spill (from oil and gas industry) to other industry such as banking,” he told reporters in Kuching today after a ceremony to hand over instruments of authority to the Malaysian Industrial Court president.
“The government cannot force employers to employ if the boss has no money to pay their workers. “Like it or not, they have to be retrenched. Try to look for other job elsewhere,” he said when asked about the government’s contingency plans in view of possible retrenchments in the oil and gas sector.
He said the ministry expected retrenchments to continue until 2017.
The Malaysian Insider recently reported that around 20,000 people lost their jobs last year, and more retrenchments were expected this year, according to the Malaysian Employers’ Federation.
Riot’s comments followed a report that national oil company Petronas was considering retrenchments for some of its 51,000 staff as one of the options as the Malaysian state-owned oil company confronted with the realities of low oil prices.
The firm had been hit by a slump in oil prices, which fell to their lowest since 2003 on Monday.
Prices had fallen over 70% in the past 18 months as exporters around the world pump out over a million barrels of crude every day in excess of demand.
The Edge Weekly previously reported that Shell Malaysia would cut 1,300 upstream jobs over the next two years, adding that job cuts in the oil and gas industry were expected because of the collapse of oil prices.
Riot today referred to the advice to look for a second job to make ends meet, given by Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan, who earned scorn for his suggestion.
“Somebody said that with the price of living so high, look for second job.
“Even finding a first job is already difficult, what more to look for second job,” Riot said, although he did not mention Ahmad Maslan’s name.
Ahmad Maslan’s suggestion, which has its own Twitter hashtag #2kerja, were already a reality for many working class Malaysians who said working two jobs was a necessity in order to provide for their families. – January 21, 2016.
Source: Malaysian Insider
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