Nearly 5,000 workers in Malaysia, including foreigners, will be retrenched by 137 employers in the next three months as the global economic recession hits the country, Human Resources Minister S Subramaniam said in Kuala Lumpur.
He said 4,749 workers stood to lose their jobs due to lack in demand and added that the figures, including some 1,500 Western Digital workers in Kuching, were updated as of Monday.
The economic crisis is expected to hit people working in the electronics sector the hardest.
"My ministry will ensure that the workers get the compensation due to them," Subramaniam was quoted by local media reports as saying.
For workers who have been with a company for two years or less, compensation would be 10 days of salary per year of work. For those who clocked in between two and five years, it would be 15 days of salary per year and for those above five years, 20 days.
Subramaniam said the government would look into getting alternative employment for the workers or retrain them and will ensure "the retrenchment is done fairly".
"So far, we have not held dialogues with these workers but we will be contacting them soon and setting up counselling sessions," he said, adding that he was not sure whether the number of retrenched workers would increase.
On foreign workers, he said employment contract agreed between the employer and the worker had to be honoured and that the foreign worker would have to go back home if he or she was retrenched.
Malaysia relies heavily on foreign labour from India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal to help out in construction industry, hotels, restaurants and plantations.