PETALING JAYA: Puteri Umno has urged the government to view unemployment as a serious issue and to particularly safeguard the welfare of women.
This is because women have been the biggest group affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to its chief Zahida Zarik Khan.
“Most businesses ceased operations during the movement control order, causing many to lose their jobs. Based on figures from the Department of Statistics, the unemployment rate in Malaysia rose by 5.3% or 826,100 individuals in May, the highest since 1989.
“Women are among those most affected, with 72.7% of the reported unemployed individuals being women. These are worrying statistics,” she said.
Therefore, Zahida said, the wing was suggesting several measures for the government and employers to follow to ensure women were not further impacted.
One measure is that retrenchments must be carried out under the “last-in-first-out” (LIFO) principle regardless of gender, similar to standards adopted internationally.
“Even if there must be retrenchments, there should be measures to provide alternative jobs before that. They (employees) need to be informed about the government’s allocations for ‘retraining’ programmes so that they can enter new industries,” said Zahida.
She also called for the establishment of special centres to receive complaints and assist groups who had lost their jobs.
“It is also important to give attention to how many of those unemployed are women who are ‘head of households’- such as single mothers and those who need to support their parents and other family members,” she said.
Zahida acknowledged that with the challenging economic situation, it was inevitable that many employers, especially those in trade, would lay off their workers.