More than 4,000 Sarawakians lost their jobs during COVID-19

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KUCHING: AS many as 4,037 Sarawakians have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2021.

Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Labour, Immigration and Project Monitoring) Datuk Gerawat Gala said a total of 3,002 Sarawakian lost their jobs in the year 2020, while 1,035 faced the same fate in the following year.

“As a measure to reduce the burden of those affected, including those who had lost their jobs, the Sarawak Government has introduced eight packages of the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) totalling RM5.7 billion.

“The BKSS packages included handing out cash assistance to B40 groups as well as small traders, as well as deferment of rental,” he said in reply to Safiee Ahmad (GPS-Daro) on how many Sarawakian has lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and what are the state government measures to address the matter during the question-and-answer session today.

Gerawat said the Sarawak government has carried out several efforts including the implementation of the Graduate Enhancement Training Sarawak (GETS) for graduates in the state to address the issue. 

“Apart from that, the state government will also carry out an Industry Workforce Development programme in collaboration with the industry to provide training in the industries,” he said.

He said that the Social Security Organisation (PERKESO) has also conducted the Go Rural Area Programme (GRAP) and Career Carnival to provide information on job opportunities.

“For the long term plan, the Sarawak government will continue to implement more initiatives under the Post COVID-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 to create more high productivity economic activities, job opportunities, and business.

“It is expected that 200,000 jobs with high salaries will be created by the year 2030,” he said.

On the question of workers having their salary reduced, he said that a total of 5,932 workers were given a reduction in their salary for the period of 2020 to 2021.

“These figures are higher as compared to those who have been retrenched,” he said.

He added that throughout 2020 to 2021, majority of the workers who have been retrenched were those from the hotel industry and food services of which involved 2,772 workers.

“While the retail and sales sector involved 1,328 workers, and the construction sector involved 1,030 sectors,” he said.

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