GEORGE TOWN, Oct 11 — Penang is one of six states in the country with the lowest unemployment rate of between 3.5 and 3.9 per cent as of August this year, said Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy.
He said the unemployment rate in the state is expected to drop even more in line with the economic recovery in the country.
Based on data obtained from Social Security Organisation (Socso), he said about 2,828 people lost their jobs in Penang as of October 1 this year while a total of 10,465 people lost their jobs for the whole of 2020.
“Based on statistics from the Department of Statistics Malaysia showed that as much as 60 per cent of the workers in Penang who lost their jobs in 2020 are from the manufacturing, tourism, wholesale and retail industries and those involved in technical and professional jobs,” he said.
As for those who lost their jobs in 2021, he said 70 per cent are from the manufacturing, wholesale and retail and property industries.
“For 2020 and 2021, four categories of workers earning between RM1,000 and RM2,999 are the most affected due to loss of jobs in Penang following the pandemic,” he said.
He said the state government has taken steps to help those who had lost their jobs such as the employment of 11,996 people in 2020 through the hiring incentive under the federal government’s Penjana Kerjaya 1.0.
“As of September 24 this year, Penang has successfully helped 14,884 people find employment under Penjana Kerjaya 2.0 and 3.0, which is four times compared to the number of unemployment for that period,” he said.
He said the state government has also offered incentives to the tourism industry in the state through its interest-free business loans under Skim Peka 2.1.
He added that the state also cooperated with other agencies through InvestPenang to attract more investors into the state other than assisting local small and medium industries which created more jobs in Penang.
“Based on the number of investments approved for the manufacturing sector in Penang from January 2020 to March 2021, it is estimated that a total of 15,596 job opportunities will be created in stages in the coming three to five years,” he said.
He said the state has also introduced various programmes to encourage entrepreneurship such as the Penang Development Corporation’s Skim Pinjaman Harapan which was started in 2009 and as of July this year, a total of RM20.37 million loans were released to 3,662 entrepreneurs.
Penang has also introduced the Tabung Usahawan Tani to encourage youths and graduates to venture into the agriculture sector.
“As of July 2021, a total RM980,000 was released to 175 entrepreneurs under this fund,” he said.
Finally, Ramasamy said the state also offered an Economic Recovery and Upgrading Programme (Equipment Assistance) for small businesses in the state.
He said the programme is targeted at helping existing small businesses that were established more than a year with an income of RM3,000 per month.