KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — The government should conduct a study on why local youth are reluctant to venture into the plantation, manufacturing, construction and cleaning sectors that are currently monopolised by foreign workers, said the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC).
MTUC secretary-general N. Gopal Kishnam said: "Many have put a negative stigma that the locals do not want to work in these sectors just because it is dirty, difficult and dangerous or 3D.
"On the other hand, if we observe, kampung youths are actually familiar with such work from an early age. There must be other reasons holding them back."
Among the key points that need to be studied are the minimum wage for youths to ensure that it commensurates with the duties of the job in the semi-skilled sector, said Gopal when contacted.
He was of the view that a minimum wage of RM1,500 plus a living allowance of RM300 will be able to attract young people to venture into the sectors and will be useful in the current situation where people are facing rising costs of living.
"More than one million young people from the country choose to work abroad due to higher salary offers, they even opted to doing heavy jobs. This means, the issue is the youth only want adequate salaries to sustain their livelihood," he said.
Gopal said employers should provide benefits appropriate to the tasks of workers, including insurance coverage and allowance.
"Some blame our youth that they are only able to sustain in a job for less than three months. However, the attitude of employers who take their responsibilities lightly also plays a role in forcing young workers to look for other careers," he said.
University Putra Malaysia (UPM) Faculty of Human Ecology senior lecturer Askiah Jamaluddin said the government should strengthen the vocational education system to provide youth with more comprehensive industrial networking and adequate skills training appropriate to their scope of work. — Bernama