Malaysia's Ministry of Human Resrouces (MOHR) has spoken up about the prediction by Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) that 100,000 Malaysians could be laid off if COVID-19 threat continues till end 2020.

In a media release shared on Facebook yesterday, MOHR noted that the prediction is speculative in nature and does not take into account the various initiatives that have been, are being, and will be implemented by the Government to protect workers and improve the efficiency of Malaysia's labour market to address various socio-economic challenges including the COVID-19 threat.

Since the start of the coronavirus threat, the number of terminated workers has not increased dramatically, the ministry noted. Continuing a normal trend, as of 18 February 2020, 8,588 workers have lost their jobs and Malaysia’s Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) has spent RM21mn to assist them through the Employment Insurance System (EIS).

The ministry also expressed confidence that the soon-to-be-launched economic stimulus package will help put the country in the best possible position to benefit from the recovery of the world economy after the COVID-19 outbreak threat ends.

Furthermore, MOHR emphasized that laying off workers should be the last step employers take. Instead, according to the Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony 1975, employers must first take reasonable steps to avoid termination, as stated in the . This can include implementing a hiring freeze, limiting overtime, limiting work to weekly breaks, and general holidays, among others. The ministry has said that it will not compromise any party that terminates an employee arbitrarily without complying with the law.

MOHR Facebook post about COVID-19 layoff speculation

 

Earlier this week, speaking exclusively to theSun, MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said: “Many companies have been impacted, some to the extent of having their business revenue reduced by 50% compared with what they normally earn.

“If the situation persists, the retrenchment figure can reach as high as 100,000, which is more than double in 2019. This is something that really needs to be looked at.”

Photo / 123RF