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Penang Gerakan concerns over impending layoff of 1,000 workers when Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc closes

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Gerakan is concerned with the laid back attitude of the Penang state government over the impending layoff of some 1,000 workers when Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc closes its manufacturing plant here in December.

State Gerakan Youth committee member Teo Yin Horng said the state government should focus on helping the affected workers, find them alternative jobs, and other means to ease their financial burden.

“They should be serious and concerned with getting ready to face the consequential impact on the state’s economy and employment market opportunities,” he said.

It was reported earlier that the state government had said “the closure of the plant will not hamper the development of the semiconductor industry in Penang.”

Teo said the issue needed immediate attention, not just on the general development of the semiconductor industry, but how the DAP-led state government was going to work with the federal government to help the workers.

“Also, whether the closure will have a domino effect, prompting other manufacturers to move out of Penang.

This is the crux of the problem.”

Teh also pointed out that downstream industries, including the local suppliers and other related operators, would be affected.

Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc, Teo said, was among the first batch of eight multinational companies which set their foot in Penang in the 1970s.

“For the past 50 years or more, they have provided bread-and-butter for the people of Penang ... one generation after another. Such a dedicated manufacturer.”

Teo said during the reign of former chief minister Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, the people of Penang witnessed the mushrooming of factories in Penang.

His successor, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, further expanded the industrial base by increasing the number of factories many-folds.

“Today, we see a slump in the industry. The state government should take initiative to woo the foreign investors.”