PARLIAMENT | The pledge to create one million job opportunities in Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto is not empty talk, Human Resource Minister M Kulasegaran said today.
Kulasegaran said the government was capable of delivering on the promise, but was currently facing the problem of insufficient manpower.
"The problem is not the figure or job availability, the problem is full employment, as the unemployment rate is only 3.4 per cent.
"There is a shortage of workers, efforts are being taken to increase the pool of skilled workers as this will raise the nation’s income," he said during the question-and-answer session in the Dewan Rakyat.
"Raising the minimum wage to RM1,500 is a policy of the government which certainly can be achieved in five years time.
"The first step has been taken which is raising the minimum wage from RM1,000 to RM1,100 effective Jan 19."
The minister was replying to a supplementary question from Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (BN-Bagan Datuk) who had wanted to know if the government would keep its promise of creating a million jobs with the minimum pay at RM1,500, as contained in the manifesto.
According to Kulasegaran, there were 137,400 unemployed graduates in 2017, a four percent rise from 131,600 in 2016.
Among the programmes implemented to tackle unemployment, he said, were upgrading the JobsMalaysia portal, job matching schemes, holding job fairs and walk-in-interviews, he said.
As for retrenchment, the minister noted that from Jan 1 to Sept 30, 15,903 workers lost their jobs, saying the figure was about half for the same period in 2017 which saw 31,945 workers let go.
He was responding to Zahid’s original question on graduate unemployment and retrenchment of workers.