More than 4,000 Sarawakians lost their jobs during Covid-19

KUCHING: More than 4,000 Sarawakians lost their jobs in the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the state legislative assembly heard on Wednesday (May 18).

Premier’s Department (Labour, Immigration and Project Monitoring) head Datuk Gerawat Gala said 3,002 people were laid off in 2020 and 1,035 in 2021.

“The majority of those who lost their jobs were involved in the hotel and food services sector, retail and sales as well as construction,” he said when replying to Safiee Ahmad (GPS-Daro) during question time.

He added that based on the Labour Department’s records, 3,765 employees experienced a pay cut in 2020 and 2,167 last year.

“As an immediate step to ease the people’s burden due to the pandemic, including the loss of jobs, the state government implemented eight Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) packages worth RM5.7bil in total.

“The BKSS packages included cash assistance for B40 groups and small and medium entrepreneurs as well as rental deferment,” he said.

Gerawat said the state government had also introduced training and placement schemes to address unemployment.

These include the Graduate Enhancement Training Sarawak (GETS) programme for graduates and the industry workforce development programme in collaboration with industries.

“For the long term, the state government will implement initiatives under the post-Covid-19 development strategy to generate more economic activities.

“An estimated 200,000 high-paying jobs are expected to be created by 2030,” he said.