Covid-19: More than 5,000 Laid Off in Penang

GEORGE TOWN: Penang saw 5,443 people in various sectors retrenched since the global Covid-19 pandemic in March, the House was told today.

Deputy Chief Minister II Professor Dr P Ramasamy (DAP-Prai) said 122 people were retrenched in March, April (1,494), May (275), June (1,542), July (1,184), August (290) and September (536).

He said not all employers made public news about retrenchment in their respective companies.

“During that time, some 4,000 vacancies have been made available. So, on one hand, we have those who were retrenched, while on the other, we have vacancies available.

“On our part, we help in terms of creating job matching opportunities,” he said when answering a supplementary question from Zulkifli Ibrahim (PPBM-Sungai Acheh).

Zulkifli had asked what alternatives there were for those who were retrenched.

Ramasamy said numerous state agencies such as the Penang Career Assistance And Training Centre (CAT) and the Penang Development Corporation were available to assist those retrenched.

Meanwhile, Ramasamy said the impact of the pandemic had seen the unemployment rate in the state hovering between 4.5 and 5 per cent.

“Nevertheless, this figure is still good compared to other states, including Wilayah Persekutuan (Kuala Lumpur).

“The Penang government will do all it can to fight the pandemic.

“Penang is still doing fine as we are still able to attract investments into our state, (and this) creates job opportunities,” he added.

It was reported in April that following clothing company Esquel Group’s announcement that it would exit Malaysia, another Hong Kong apparel company planned to do the same.

The 70 year-old TAL Group announced it would cease operations of its two Malaysian factories, Pen Apparel in Penang (PAP) and Imperial Garments (IG), in Ipoh.

In his Labour Day message, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow had vowed that the state government would help those who lost their livelihoods during the pandemic.


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