KUCHING: Sarawak registered a 4.6 per cent unemployment rate in 2010 with a workforce participation of 66.5 per cent.
Labour senior assistant director Ahmat Lamat said the rate was not alarming given that all societies across the globe would see at least 4 per cent unemployment, if not higher.
“In 2010, we had a labour force participation of 1,057,100 although the unemployment rate was 4.6 per cent,” he told a news conference yesterday.
“According to the Statistics Department, there were 58,092 vacancies in 2010 while last year registered 68,213.”
He said the public tended to be “too choosy” when it came to jobs, and that many locals refused to take up vacancies in the plantation, construction and manufacturing sectors.
“These three industries are dominated by foreign workers mostly from Indonesia. I believe there are reasons why our locals do not want these jobs, perhaps due to mismatch factors.
“There are also people who think that the salary is too low, terms and conditions are not to their satisfaction and so forth.”
He said the government’s recent efforts to enforce a minimum wage policy was no guarantee more locals would seek employment with the three industries.
“We do not know the ceiling yet, could be RM700 or RM800 and whether it is good enough to attract the locals, we will see.”
However, he expressed optimism that the minimum wage policy, once implemented, would apply to all sectors and be advantageous to employees.
He pointed out the department would adhere to what is stipulated if there are different minimum rates for Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah.
“Even if there is disparity, I believe there are certain factors and reasons why the difference, and they involve workers, employers as well as the government.
“In fact, minimum wage policy has been discussed since a long time ago and it is not something out of the blue.”