Panasonic closure of factories to leave hundreds of Malaysians jobless amidst country’s declining economy

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2nd June 2023 – (Kuala Lumpur) Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd (PMMA) is reportedly closing its factories in Malaysia, which could result in hundreds of Malaysians losing their jobs. PMMA has been facing management issues, which led to the termination of its executive director and 15 managers. The company’s subsidiary, Panasonic Appliances Refrigeration Devices Malaysia Sdn Bhd in Melaka, is expected to shut down by the end of the year, leaving 500 Malaysian workers and 95 foreign staff at risk of unemployment. Another unit, Panasonic AVC Networks Johor Malaysia Sdn Bhd, is also reportedly making arrangements to shut down operations before the end of 2023, but it is unclear how many workers will be affected.

PMMA has already laid off 689 Malaysians over the last five years, including outsourced and temporary workers. The manufacturer also sent home 392 migrant workers while creating 63 new jobs for Malaysians in 2020. The company lost two lawsuits alleging that its former suppliers, executive director Chen Ah Huat, and employees defrauded it of millions of ringgit in payment for work that could not be verified as being delivered. The lawsuits led to downsizing, with 75 more workers losing their jobs from its SA1 kitchen appliances plant, citing labour costs, adopting more automation, and realignment by the global Panasonic Group.

However, PMMA’s story is just the tip of the iceberg for Malaysia’s declining economy. The country has changed from a roaring tiger to a wounded and abandoned cat. 

Opposition parties such as PAS in Malaysia, on the other hand, are building up country images and barriers based on race and religion to stiffen and scare investors. Outdated policies that are skewed to racial and religious profiles will bring more hardship to the country. Rampant corruption, cronyism, and a lackadaisical attitude continue to drag Malaysia’s declining economy to a low-middle-income nation.

The closing down of factories, not just Panasonic, over the decade is merely a harbinger of things to come. It is time to remove these policies and make Malaysia better again, not great because it never was great, but it can be better. Despite having no resources, Singapore’s GDP in U.S. dollars has even exceeded Malaysia’s GDP. The country needs to take steps to attract investors and improve its economy, or the situation will only get worse.