Close to 4,900 in Sabah lost jobs due to lockdown, says minister

Thousands in Sabah were left jobless after the three-month movement control order period which saw the majority of businesses closed.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s minister in charge of human resources Yusof Yacob says close to 4,900 people from 128 companies registered with his ministry have lost their jobs due to the partial lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Sabah education and innovation minister said thousands more could also have been left jobless, especially those working in the services sector.

“The Sabah government has allocated RM20 million under the second New Deal package announced by Chief Minister Shafie Apdal,” he said, adding that the fund was meant for the reskilling and upskilling of workers who had lost their jobs.

“We are now reaching out to various private institutions to come up with proposals for us to consider to retrain these workers, as well as to prepare various skills courses under the Human Resource Development Department to deal with this issue,” he told reporters here today.

He added that companies could offer entrepreneurial courses to help trainees begin their own businesses later on.

“We will be reaching out to the laid-off workers who have already registered with us to offer them programmes. Hopefully, they will be able to find work soon.”

He said the state government had also prepared a low-interest microcredit facility for Sabahans to start up such businesses through the Sabah Credit Corporation.

Many companies were forced to close during the three-month movement control order period which began on March 18. This left a number of employers with no choice but to lay off their workers or ask them to take unpaid leave.

Yusof said the first programme for retraining workers would begin in mid-July, with job carnivals also in the pipeline.

On a separate matter, he said his ministry was aware of the shortage of classrooms in Sabah schools which will reopen along with others nationwide on July 15.

He said there would be a change in schooling sessions to ensure enough classroom space once schools reopen.

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