InvestPenang denied that the latest retrenchment exercise by a company based in the state reflected the industry’s employment climate.
The state investment arm’s general manager Loo Lee Lian said a report by a business research and information company, IHS, noted that module shipments would exceed 2015 by 10%, with revenue hitting US$41.9 billon.
“Two other major solar cells and modules manufacturers in Penang are not only unaffected but are actually in expansion mode. This expansion by a solar company will be announced soon,” said Loo, in a statement issued today.
Loo was referring to TS Solartech Sdn Bhd, the solar cell and module manufacturer located in Penang Science Park, which recently announced the retrenchment of 180 operation staff.
New Straits Times reported on Sept 27 that “another wave of retrenchment has hit Penang”, saying that it follows other manufacturing companies that have also retrenched its workers.
But according to Loo, the 180 out of 400 hired during that period at TS Solartech, were hired on contract, and were on probation employment.
“We were informed that the difficult decision to release the staff was due to redundancy caused by unmet business forecast,” Loo said.
“The affected staff were also offered alternative employment in another factory of the group,” she added.
Loo said job creation remains a primary focus of InvestPenang in attracting new investments and re-investments.
“The restructuring exercise of companies closing down and opening up is a normal phase of the manufacturing industry in line with technological advances and changing market conditions.
“There will be retrenchments and new hirings, but the net effect will still be positive this year in terms of job opportunities for Penang,” Loo assured.
“New job opportunities are still being created in the manufacturing and industry sector as well as the growing global business services sector in Penang,” she added.
Loo said in the interim, those affected by job displacement can contact the Penang Career Assistance and Talent Centre atwww.penangcatcenre.my for assistance to find new job opportunities.
“Penang still requires more workers, at least 20,000, in line with Penang recording one of the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 1.5 percent,” she added.
Other companies closing down or conducting retrenchment exercises are US-based Rubicon Technology Inc, which announced that it is closing down its facility, a move that will reportedly affect 180.
In July, American hard disk maker Seagate Technology Plc and computer data storage firm Western Digital Corp (WD) said they would be relocating the bulk of their operations to Thailand.
While Seagate’s move will affect 3,000, WD will reportedly lay off 400 Malaysian staff and 800 foreign workers from its Penang manufacturing site.
Early this year, Intel Technology, the world’s biggest chipmaker had announced that it would lay off up to 12,000 workers globally.