Set up a National Task Force to secure jobs

First and foremost, I would like to extend my heartfelt solidarity to all Malaysian families who are going through trying times due to the COVID -19 pandemic. To those who are infected with the virus, I have kept you and your families in my prayers.

There are two important and critical issues that are in the minds of most Malaysians.

One is a about the spread of the COVID -19 virus and how long they need to bear with it.

Two is about their social economic situation which relates to job security.

Anxiety has begun to take shape when Malaysian employees who are not employed in essential services, have been ask to take annual and unpaid leaves in the current period of restriction of movement between 18th of March to 31st of March.

The key issue currently is not just the number of cases of COVID-19, but the level of disruption to the Malaysian economy from containment measures and would business sustain their operations after the period of losses. If restrictions are taken disproportionately it could induce panic and weaken the economy even further.

Fears of the impact of COVID- 19 on the global economy have rocked markets worldwide, plunging stock prices and bond yields. It is estimated by government officials in the United States that there could possibly be a 20% unemployment rate in the US, due to restriction of movement from the coronavirus.

The unemployment rate both in the US and Malaysia currently is hovering around 3.4% before the onslaught of COVID-19.

The far-reaching consequences of COVID-19 are:

  1. The upcoming job loses will be unlike anything Malaysians have ever seen;
  2. The coronavirus crisis is likely to result in layoffs and terminations on a scale that the Malaysians have never experienced before;
  3. A Recession and possibly Depression would have disastrous effects on the country’s and result in massive job losses;
  4. Possibility of creation of new jobs is now very slim.

The Perikatan Government must act quicker to comprehend the entire impact of the COVID -19 to businesses and jobs in the next 18 months. There is no mechanism to handle issues related to jobs and social security except by depending on announcements, circulars and existing mechanisms. We are going down a slippery slope.

A game changer should take place by setting up of a bipartisan National Task Force to secure business sustainability and job security for all Malaysians. The national task force should comprise the experts from Human Resources Ministry Employers organisations, Unions, Opposition Politicians, and related agencies.

There should be a coordinated effort to ensure that job security is secured and contributes to economic stability in the long run.

A win-win situation between employers and employees should be worked out.

It is hope that the national task force on job security could be established as soon as possible to address the impending loss of jobs and bring about job security to workers. Prevention and focus should be the key words in ensuring job security. A game changer has become crucial in these trying times.

DAP National Vice Chairman & MP for Ipoh Barat
Media statement by M Kula Segaran in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 22nd March 2020