KOTA KINABALU May 9, 2012: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday assured that there are enough job opportunities for youths in Sabah.
“For instance, there are some 2,000 vacancies in the plantation industry,” he said.
But unfortunately, Musa said the industry is not exactly a career favoured by local youths in the state.
“So they have an option to work in the hospitality sector as we have a lot of hotels and resorts and I would like to urge those with experience to return to Sabah to work here,”
he told reporters after chairing the second Sabah Action Council meeting at Wisma Innoprise here.
Musa was responding to a statement by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Youth chief Edward Dagul that thousands of Sabahan youths are forced to migrate to Peninsular and abroad to seek employment due to the economic shortcomings in the state.
Edward also claimed that they had identified at least 60,000 jobless Sabahan youths and blamed Barisan Nasional for failing to provide job opportunities for them.
“I do not believe we do not have jobs for our youths. But having said that, we cannot stop them from migrating as probably they find better offers, or maybe they just want to work and sightsee outside the state.
“The claim by SAPP is untrue, and as usual it is just their political gimmick, especially now with the election just around the corner,” said Musa.
He, however, advised local youths not to be too choosy when looking for employment.
Meanwhile, Sabah Oil and Gas Contractors Association (Sogca) called on SAPP to provide them with the list of names of local youths in Sabah, which they claimed to be jobless.
“We need them to work,” said its president, Datuk Iskandar Malik, adding that Sogca is willing to work with SAPP to provide the necessary training to equip these youths for the oil and gas industry.
Apart from Sogca, other agencies such as Petronas and also government departments such as Yayasan Sabah are also offering training programmes to expose youths to the skills and knowledge needed in the market.
“Maybe SAPP is unaware that there are skill and training programmes organised to train our youths in Sabah. And with oil and gas as a growing industry in the state, we are indeed in need of more manpower, preferrably skilled ones,” he said.
Edward said the Sabahan youths have no choice but to seek employment elsewhere. Over 60,000 of them have been listed as jobless, and most of them have gone to either West Malaysia or other countries to work.
“And what saddens us more is that they become homeless after failing to secure jobs. And some of them have to depend on the assistance from non-governmental organisations for food and sleep by the roadside as they have no place to go,” Edward said during the SAPP Kota Kinabalu Youth Convention held in Likas over the weekend.
He added that the state government had once set up a committee to investigate the issues pertaining to homeless Sabah youths in Peninsular Malaysia.
“However, to date, no action has been taken to overcome the problem, and what is worse is that more people are falling and becoming victims.
“It seems that the Barisan Nasional government, and Umno, do not care about the problems affecting Sabahan youths, and in fact they have also failed to provide job opportunities to cater their needs in Sabah,” he said.
Iskandar added that if indeed there are thousands of Sabahans working outside the state, he urged them to return home as there are jobs waiting for them here.
He also proposed to SAPP to carry out roadshows in peninsula states to lure Sabahans to return home and work in the many industries in Sabah.
On another development, Iskandar said that it was possible to offer the RM800 minimal wages to employees in Sabah, if the employers are allowed to be the main contractors in the industry.
“As it is now, we are made the sub-contractors, making it impossible to pay our workers more,” he said.
Iskandar added that he understands the problems affecting the employees, especially to make ends meet with such low salaries.
“There are three basic needs – food, shelter and clothing. And all are very costly. But we cannot give in and agree to the RM800 minimum salary when we cannot afford to pay it,” he said.
by Sandra Sokial