IDS proposes automation, upskilling and local participation to address foreign labor shortage.

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KOTA KINABALU: Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) has proposed three proposals in its Human Capital Development Blueprint to tackle labour shortages in Sabah. 

Its chief executive officer Datuk Dr Ramzah Dambul said among them include the need to strengthen and upgrade farming skills, to adopt digitalisation and technology advancement, as well as to encourage local participation. 

He added that Sabah economy relies heavily on foreign labour despite implementations of various efforts to overcome the lack of manpower. 

“The issue of manpower in Sabah has evidently deepened post COVID-19 with many industries facing critical shortages of manpower, specifically labour-intensive sectors such as plantation and construction. 

“The government must encourage the development of home-grown technology and innovations, so that the industry can eventually automate certain parts of the labour-intensive processes,” he added, further explaining that to encourage local participation especially Sabahan youths, the job must be made attractive with benefits that can match job opportunities offered elsewhere such as Kuala Lumpur. 

Ramzah also proposed for a committee to be reactivated in line with a concerted effort to address the critical issue of manpower shortage. 

“The committee should be put directly under the Sabah Economy Advisory Council (SEAC) to provide better access to high-level decision making.”

Ramzah also assured that IDS’ research team is ready to be mobilised to assist the relevant sectors in their effort to address the State’s manpower issues. 

On March 21, IDS will be organising a hybrid forum titled Labour Shortages in Sabah: Foreign Workers Issue at IDS Hall. 

Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Jeffrey G. Kitingan is scheduled to deliver the keynote address. 


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