KUALA LUMPUR, 27 Nov 2008: Employers must give priority to retain their local workers if their businesses undergo downsizing during an economic slowdown, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam.
He said the Employment Act 1955 also bound employers to choose locals over their foreign counterparts.
“Retrenchment should only be the last resort. But if unavoidable, then the foreign workers should be retrenched first, not the locals,” he told reporters after opening the Science of Human Performance seminar here today.
However, he said, he has not received any report on companies downsizing and cutting down on production.
Subramaniam called on employers to make use of the slowdown to retrain their workers or send them to acquire new skills.
He said new skills would be useful in preparing the enterprises to face new challenges and demands when the economy recovered.
He said enterprises in the country should also invest in developing human capital and creating a conducive work environment that would encourage innovation and productivity among employees. — Bernama