11th National Development Plan projects continue amid COVID-19

Syazwani Hj Rosli

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah said that projects under 11th National Development Plan will not be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

During the daily press conference on Thursday at the Ministry of Health (MoH) building, he said, “We will continue as planned. Of course, the projects will be affected by the importation of materials, due to shipment or supplier issues. As you well know, COVID-19 is having implications on the supply chain. It will depend on the project and the capacity for bringing in all the required materials and workers to do the job. So far, we haven’t witnessed any significant impact, which means that things will proceed as normal.”

Regarding complaints of local employees being dismissed as opposed to foreign workers, the minister replied, “If both local and foreign workers are doing the same job and holding the same responsibilities, then of course the priority should be given to the local employees.

“But if the foreign employees are holding responsibilities which cannot be filled in by locals, the business will need to keep the foreign employees so that it can continue to operate – then of course that’s a different situation to the one I mentioned earlier.

“However, we encourage businesses to keep local employees. Currently, the government is giving assistance to businesses, such as deferring Employees Trust Fund (TAP) and Supplemental Contributory Pension (SCP), as well as providing a 25 per cent subsidy for the employees’ salaries and so on. We need to help each other to make it through this difficult time, so that hopefully, when this crisis is over, the locals can take over some of the available jobs.”

The minister also touched on the upskilling and reskilling of locals in training programmes conducted by the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) and Darussalam Enterprise (DARe), towards supporting the growth of the private sector. “The training is implemented online or hands-on, either for current needs or as a step towards human resource capacity-building.

“This is the time to send locals for training. When the COVID-19 pandemic is over, our people will be able to do things that they previously couldn’t. But for now, we are encouraging businesses to keep locals employed.”