GEORGE TOWN,. The Penang government must set up a special committee to look into rising unemployment rates in the state, state Gerakan chairman Oh Tong Keong said today.
Claiming the unemployment rate in Penang is on the rise, Oh said the state government must come up with ways to resolve this issue.
“The Penang state government should set up a special committee to formulate strategies to reduce the unemployment rate in the state,” he said in a statement here.
Oh cited data from Penang Social Security Organisation (Socso) revealing that a total of 1,429 workers lost their jobs as of November this year.
Out of the 1,429 workers, Oh said 45 per cent or a total 643 applied for a mutual separation scheme while the remaining workers were laid off or retrenched.
The Gerakan deputy president said this proved that the unemployment rate in Penang is on the rise.
“The state government can no longer push its responsibility to the federal government since Pakatan Harapan is also helming the federal government, they must take full responsibility,” he said.
He accused the government of “constantly perpetuating populism practices, war of words and polemics” that have led to high living expenses and unemployment rates.
“It should stop being populist but improve the economy instead of doing nothing on rising unemployment and let the people suffer,” he said.
He claimed the state government only “made the accounts look beautiful” and “bragged” to the people about economic growth.
“This is meaningless to the people when people are not benefiting from real economic growth such as increased income and a stable job market,” he said.
He said it is time the state government strengthened its manufacturing and services industry including its tourism sector.
“These industries are the main sources of income for Penang so the state should be attracting more foreign investment, reducing unemployment rate and helping unemployed people to return to the workplace,” he said.