Exco: Johor eyeing higher pay for skilled labour to tap trade war gains

Johor International Trade, Investment and Utility Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse says the state government will look for ways to increase pay levels and attract skilled workers to prepare for the expected demand stemming from the US-China trade way. — Picture via Facebook/Jimmy Puah
Johor International Trade, Investment and Utility Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse says the state government will look for ways to increase pay levels and attract skilled workers to prepare for the expected demand stemming from the US-China trade way. — Picture via Facebook/Jimmy Puah

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ISKANDAR PUTERI, July 1 — The Johor government will look for ways to increase pay levels and attract skilled workers here to prepare for the expected demand stemming from the US-China trade way, said an official.

Johor International Trade, Investment and Utility Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse said Johor could take advantage of the situation by providing skilled workers as many companies were planning to move their operations to other countries, including Malaysia due to the trade war.

He said the challenge is now about ensuring that Malaysian skilled workers do not move to Singapore for employment due to the exchange rate.

“We (the state government) are looking for the best solutions that include raising salaries that will attract more skilled workers to work in Johor.

“At the same time, we also need to provide a better work environment and can provide attractive job prospects where they can improve their careers rather than the limited prospects in Singapore,” said Puah today.

He said this in his reply to a question by Datuk Hasni Mohammad (BN-Benut) at the Johor State Legislative Assembly in Kota Iskandar here today.

Earlier, Puah also replied to another question by Chen Kah Eng (PH-Stulang) that the country was fortunate to benefit from despite the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

He said the state government needs to be more proactive in order to take advantage of the trade war, citing that many companies from China intents to move their business, industries and factories to the region, especially in Malaysia.

“The state government is confident in attracting manufacturing companies to Johor by the end of this year, following three trade missions to China in March, April and May.

“To date, around 10 companies have been involved in the discussions,” said Puah, adding that until March investments from China to Johor stood at RM718 million, making it the top state with the highest amount to receive Chinese investments.

Puah added that the state government also has plans to hold a trade and investment mission to the United States by this month in an effort to attract more investments to Johor.

“We want to attract United States investors who are keen on moving their business from China to Johor in light of the trade war,” he said.

Both China and the United States have been locked in a trade war with American president Donald Trump announcing he would increase tariffs on US$200 billion (RM826 billion) of Chinese imports to 25 per cent from 10 per cent, which he imposed on May 10.

China then retaliated with Chinese officials announcing they would also increase their tariffs of about 5,000 US goods worth US$60 billion from 5 per cent to a range from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

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