The year 2009 has seen more than 1,000 workers in various companies in Penang were already laid off.
Signs are showing that more will lose their job, but the state Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, takes a more optimistic stand and insists that the layoff has not reached a critical level.
According to him, while retrenchment news are making headlines, many other companies are actively hiring, and job vacancy figures recorded by a number of recruitment agencies showed that there are still many jobs available for job seekers.
The state before asked for RM500 million relocation from the federal government as part of the retrenchment fund to retrain laid off workers with other range of skills and enable to get back into the employment world quickly.
The Star reported that in January alone, 1,313 workers, made up by both locals and foreigners, lost their job. The big chunk of them came from electronic and manufacturing industry.
The federal government has been asking employers to retrench foreign workers first in an effort to protect the local workforce. But as far as the Penang scenario is concerned, out of the 1313 workers, 791 were local Malaysians, meaning that they become an equal victim, if not worse.