Nearly 800,000 jobless in December

The Department of Statistics announced today that the country’s unemployment rate reached 4.8 per cent in December.

Many of those who lost their jobs were from tourism-related industries, arts, entertainment and recreational activities. Even those from the agriculture, mining, quarrying and construction sectors were affected, mainly due to a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Chief Statistician Malaysia Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the country experienced slower labour demand due to the adverse impact of the pandemic.

“The number of employed persons who were temporarily not working increased to 146,200 people in December, compared to 142,000 the month earlier, due to the implementation of various phases of the Movement Control Order (MCO) throughout the month as well as short school break and festive holiday,” said Uzir.

He added that in the fourth quarter of 2020, a total of 533,700 people could only work less than 30 hours per week due to less productive working conditions or insufficient work.

Nonetheless, it said several forms of assistance and initiatives introduced by the government – the National Economic Recovery Plan, Prihatin, wage subsidy, hiring incentives and training assistance – should cushion the impact of the pandemic.

Uzir said the country’s labour market will still be in a “challenging situation” as the nation is now observing the MCO.

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.

TOMMY THOMAS DENIES DEFAMING NAJIB

Former Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas has denied defaming former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his memoirs ‘My Story: Justice in the Wilderness’.

“Our client denies all material allegations. Furthermore, our client denies that he has committed the tort of defamation against your client, as alleged or at all,” Thomas’ lawyers said in a letter addressed to Najib’s lawyers.

On Feb 2, Najib demanded an apology and RM10mil in damages from Thomas over allegations against him in the book in Chapter 42 titled ‘Altantuya’.

Najib said Thomas had conveyed by clear inference and innuendo the message that he was satisfied, as the then Attorney-General and public prosecutor, of the truthfulness of the allegations by two convicted persons that Najib was involved in directing them to murder Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Najib also said the statement was principally done in Thomas’ selfish pursuit of seeking cheap publicity, fuelled by his ego, sensationalism and profiteering.

CALLS FOR FINAS CHAIRMAN, CEO TO STEP DOWN INTENSIFY

Calls seeking the removal of National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) chairman Zakaria Abdul Hami and chief executive officer Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri intensified following the launch of a petition on Change.org.

Art Revolt, who started the petition addressed to the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, said the Malaysian creative and film industry feels marginalised by Zakaria and Ahmad Idham “who should be thinking of ways to help us to continue working in helping our economy as well as the country”.

The petition has so far garnered over 3,000 signatures. It aims to hit 5,000 signatures.

“We feel more depressed when (the) Finas chairman and CEO make statements indicating that we are not contributing to the country’s economy on their social media posts, which only displays their shallow thoughts, proving that they do not deserve to hold important positions,” the petition read.

‘SEIZE OPPORTUNITY, MAKE THE BEST OF REMOTE LEARNING’

Teachers should turn challenges of online learning into opportunities to improve the teaching and learning experiences.

S. Jayanti, an educator with over 26 years of experience as a teacher and teacher educator with the Education Ministry, added teachers must be proactive in reaching out to students.

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