KUCHING: Sarawak is short of more than 5,000 workers in the construction sectors due to the state’s Covid-19 travel restrictions on foreigners, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
“As you know before the Movement Control Order (MCO in March), some of these workers went back (to their home country), but now we have very strict entry regulations for the state, they are not able to come back to work.
“So what we are going to do now is to look into all of this, especially for our foreign workers. We are short of more than 5,000 workers in the construction sector,” he said.
Abang Johari was speaking to reporters after announcing the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 4.0 at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here this morning.
He said one of the ways the state government can solve this issue is by reskilling existing local workers.
He said locals can upgrade their skills to take on available jobs left by the foreign skilled workers in the construction sector.
“So the committee, chaired by deputy chief minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, will look into it, maybe we have to do reskilling programmes for our local workers. They upgrade their skills so that they can be involved in the construction sector.
“Meaning, we train these people from other sectors. Because our economy is there, our economy is still running, we are just short on workers.
“You just imagine 5,000 is a lot. In other words, there are 5,000 jobs available,” said Abang Johari.
Another option he suggested was to automate certain jobs which require less or no skills such as moving construction materials.
“Some (jobs) can be replaced by automation. The state government does not mind investing in procuring these (automation) machines. It’s one of the solutions,” he said.