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Give tax breaks for hiring locals, govt urged

03 Jul 2020 / 11:49 H.

GEORGE TOWN: The government has been urged to provide tax breaks to employers in the manufacturing sector to encourage them to hire local workers instead of foreigners.

GUH Holdings Berhad chief executive officer and group managing director Datuk Seri Kenneth H’ng Bak Tee said this incentive is needed due to the higher wage demand from local workers.

“If we get help from the government, we wouldn’t mind hiring local workers and paying them more too,” he told theSun.

He said local workers need to match their wage demands with productivity and skills set in the manufacturing sector.

H’ng suggested the Human Resources Ministry expand its retraining programmes to ensure workers who are laid off due to the pandemic could acquire higher sets of skills.

As industries and enterprises are moving towards digitalisation, workers need to be equipped with new skills, he added.

H’ng also urged the Finance Ministry, in its next budget presentation, to consider offering more incentives to businesses so that they can survive the economic onslaught of the pandemic.

He said the government has extended help, but mostly to the small and medium enterprises.

“Corporations such as us were left out. We can also do with some help to mitigate the fallout from the virus.”

Penang MTUC secretary K. Veeriah concurred with H’ng, saying it is the right step to boost employment of locals but said their wages must commensurate with living costs.

“Often local workers are forced to shun production work in factories, not because of the 3D (dangerous, dirty and demeaning) duties, but the wages do not meet their needs.”

Veeriah said that in such difficult times now, the role of the public and private sectors are crucial in helping Malaysians keep their jobs.

“If the economy improves while inflation decreases, workers are inclined to accept pay cuts but now, it is difficult because living costs have skyrocketed due to the new norms brought on by the pandemic.”

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Give tax breaks for hiring locals, govt urged

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