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National employment plan to deal with unemployment

KUALA LUMPUR, 20 Nov 2008: The National Action Plan for Employment 2008-2010, launched today, will focus on the government’s response to unemployment and under-employment in the nation’s workforce, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

The prime minister said the plan sought to respond to the possible increase in unemployment, the result of the global economic slowdown and the nation’s heavy dependence on foreign workers.

He said the plan would also take into account the fast-changing demands of the labour market as well as enhance the country’s labour market competitiveness.

“In essence, the action plan is a national agenda that aims to provide direction and outline priorities for employment in Malaysia. In this regard, the rebranded ‘jobsmalaysia’ can play a key role in facilitation, job placement and recruitment as well as in providing a platform to ensure the successful implementation of the National Action Plan for Employment,” he said.

Abdullah said this at the opening of the National Tripartite Conference on Decent Work at the Putra World Trade Centre here today. His speech was delivered by Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam.

Abdullah hoped that the plan would be implemented effectively and expeditiously and that all stakeholders, social partners and non-governmental organisations would continue to provide feedback and work with the Human Resources Ministry to ensure the plan’s success.

“Even as we are able to take comfort in the strong fundamentals of our economy and the various initiatives that the government has put in place, we nevertheless cannot expect to remain entirely insulated from the current global financial crisis.

“There will inevitably be some who will be displaced or retrenched. This, coupled with slower future employment growth due to increasing drives towards higher value-added and technology-intensive industries, effectively means that we must be prepared to assist those who might face some employment risk,” Abdullah said.

He said one of the three main themes of the 2009 Budget was to further develop human capital, driven by the recognition that the quality and contemporary relevance of the country’s human capital were absolutely critical in keeping Malaysia at par with international competition.

He said the sustainability of Malaysia’s future economic growth relied heavily on identifying and implementing human capital development priorities now.

In this regard, the government’s immediate focus would be on enhancing skills development and training programmes, including “up-skilling and re-skilling”, and at the same time improving the quality of education.

Abdullah said the government’s commitment towards creating a truly competitive workforce was further evidenced by the recent announcement of the RM7 billion economic stimulus package, of which RM50 million will be used to fund human capital development programmes. — Bernama


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