THE Selangor state government launched a retrenchment helpline on Saturday to reach out to workers laid off by companies forced to downsize or shut down operations following the global economic slowdown.
The helpline is the result of a collaboration between the state’s Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Department and Jobstreet.com Sdn Bhd.
It is intended to collect data on retrenched workers and help them search for new jobs through match-making with existing vacancies in companies already registered with Jobstreet.
Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said the economic crisis had caused tens of millions of workers to lose their jobs around the world and Malaysia should be prepared for the blow even though the effects had not been felt strongly yet.
“Prevention is better than cure. Even though it seems we are still in a comfortable situation but if we act only when we feel the pinch, then we will be in trouble,” he said.
“The economic situation is expected to become even worse in the next six months,” he added, citing the situation in Singapore and Thailand.
He said so far in Selangor, two major electronic and electrical products factories had closed down, causing some 3,000 workers to lose their jobs.
However, he added that more than 4,000 jobs were available in the state.
He said the state government had taken pro-active steps by forming the Taskforce on Retrenched Workers’ Problems in Selangor in January.
The taskforce headed by Khalid comprises 10 state executive committee members as well as the secretariat of the Selangor Economic Planning Unit and the Selangor State Investment Corporation.
The taskforce has been meeting every Friday and will continue to do so to evaluate the economic situation.
Agencies and associations including the police, the Immigration Department, the Federation of Manufacturers Malaysia, the Association of SMEs and the Federal Government’s Labour Department have been invited to take part in the meetings.
Also present at the launch were state secretary Datuk Ramli Mahmud, exco members Ronnie Liu and Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, mayors and council presidents.
Through the helpline, retrenched workers register free of charge on www.selangor.gov.my. Once registered, the system filters the data received and conducts match-making with existing job vacancies.
In addition, retrenched workers can register themselves at counters that will be open every Saturday starting from next Saturday (March 14) from 8.30am to noon at every local or city council in the state.
The Social Welfare Department and the Selangor Zakat Board are also extending monthly financial aid, financial treatment aid, housing rental aid and children’s education aid to qualified applicants.
The aid will be given based on existing rates and cases will be monitored over the next six months. Personnel from the departments will be stationed at the registration counters.
Jobstreet will also hold career clinics at selected local councils offering counselling, self-assessment analyses, guidance on writing effective resumes and other aids that enhance job-seeking opportunities.
Retrenched and to-be-retrenched workers can also take up training offered by the state government, through the 140 training institutions in Selangor that have been approved by Jabatan Pembangunan Kemahiran Malaysia, an agency under the Human Resources ministry.
The effectiveness of the registration counters will be evaluated by the state government at the end of April.