36,000 Malaysians jobless?

Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Maznah Mazlan said on Sunday in Rompin that some 36,000 Malaysians, or 3.6 percent of the working age population, were unemployed between October 2008 and December last year.

On first glance I assumed the Deputy Minister had been misquoted, but an across-the-board referral to this quote in today’s major newspapers have affirmed this statement was made.

According to the Government’s Economic Report 2009/2010, the Malaysian workforce is estimated at 12.06 million people. 3.6 percent of 12.06 million is 434,196. This is 12 times the figure quoted by the Deputy Minister.

It is difficult to see how Datuk Maznah could have so grossly misrepresented the unemployment figure. Perhaps she may have been confusing layoff and unemployment rates. In other democracies, unemployment rate matters hugely in politics.

Nevertheless, I hope the Deputy Minister will ensure that correct research into the best ways to deal with our unemployment rate, and take a serious look at other indicators including the issue of under-employment.

Liew Chin Tong

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