KOTA KINABALU, Aug 21 — About 588,700 people are unemployed nationwide as unemployment rate in the country hit 3.5 per cent, said Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar.
He said out of the number, Sabah has the highest unemployment with 169,800 jobless people, and this means that 29 per cent of unemployed people in Malaysia are from the state.
“The unemployment rate in Sabah reached 7.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year and this rate is also more than doubled the 3.5 per cent for the whole country.
“However, the percentage of unemployment in Sabah showed a decrease compared to 9.1 per cent in the first quarter of last year following economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
He was speaking at the opening of the Sabah State Labour Convention in conjunction with the Human Resources Ministry’s Customer Meeting Day programme at the Kota Kinabalu International Convention Centre here today.
In the meantime, Sivakumar said the labour issue in Sabah is also different from other states because workers who are not under the Labour Ordinance are estimated to exceed 800,000 people such as holders of IMM13 card, census certificate and Burung-Burung card as well as Bajau Laut (Pala’u) and illegal Immigrants.
“At the same time, more than 90 per cent of employers are small and medium industry (SME) have an impact on compliance with labour-related policies and legislation,” he said.
Therefore, he said on June 14, the Sabah State Cabinet had approved without debate the establishment of the Sabah Labour Advisory Council (MPBS) to discuss issues related to labour in Sabah.
Sivakumar said through MPBS any issues that arise should be looked at carefully and all parties in the council need to work together to provide ideas collectively to ensure that Sabah becomes one of the states that can provide high wage income.