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CIMB urges staff to take unpaid leave

Top investment bank CIMB today urged its staff to go on unpaid leave for up to six months in a move to cut costs because of the global economic downturn.

CIMB Group chief executive Nazir Razak said the offer to its 36,000 staff was aimed at avoiding layoffs and would involve branches in Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, state news agency Bernama reported.

“We don’t have a target but there will be cost savings. It’s a positive move and a win-win situation,” said Nazir, whose elder brother is incoming premier Najib Abdul Razak.

He added that in the current economic situation, “it is fully understood that there is spare capacity.”

CIMB, the country’s second-largest bank, is the first major Malaysian company to ask staff to consider taking unpaid leave.

The surprise move comes just after a labour group said on Sunday that more than 26,000 people have lost their jobs in the country so far this year.

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