Tens of thousands of Malaysian workers from the services and manufacturing sectors in Singapore will be retrenched when employers, hit by the recession, start downsizing in the island republic.
Though the recession has not translated to retrenchment, Malay-sian workers in Singapore are starting to feel jittery over the prospect of losing their jobs if the country’s economy takes a turn for the worse.
At the same time, Johor is taking early steps, including playing job matchmaker, to ensure those retren-ched can quickly be matched with jobs available locally.
For many Malaysians working in Singapore, the main concern is how to continue supporting their families if they are retrenched. Some said they were willing to take a pay cut and return to Malaysia. Others were even prepared take up two jobs back home to supplement their income.
Single mother Karen Lee is worried she may not be able to support her only daughter through college if she loses her job.
“My daughter is taking her SPM this year and plans to further her studies in Taiwan,” said the factory operator, adding that she was willing to take up a job in Malaysia at a lower salary if she were retrenched.
Lee, who earns S$1,500 (RM3,600) a month, stays in a rented room in Woodlands, Singapore while her daughter lives with her mother in Johor Baru.
Technician N. Soomu, 34, who was retrenched in 2002, said the experience was a nightmare.
This time around, he is taking steps to safeguard his job including taking up a technical course.
Soomu has been working in Singapore for the past 10 years and earns about S$1,200. He travels daily to Singapore from Johor Baru as it is cheaper to live in Johor.
Johor Unity, Human Resource, Science, Technology and Innovation committee chairman M.
Asojan said there were many job opportunities within Iskandar Malaysia.
“We need 4,000 people for the oil and gas sector alone,” he said.
Johor Labour Department deputy director Ruzita Bahari advised locals to visit its website at jobsmalaysia.gov.my or contact the department at 07-2275080 for job opportunities.
According to Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, some 300,000 Malaysians are working in Singapore.