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PN, either reinstate [email protected] or jeopardize the livelihood of ordinary Malaysians

Press Statement
4th November 2020

Budget 2021 must reinstate the pivotal and groundbreaking [email protected] initiative which sought to create 350,000 jobs for Malaysians over a 5 year period

The RM6.5 billion [email protected] initiative was unveiled in Budget 2020 to create up to 350,000 jobs for Malaysians over a 5-year period. The programme, also known as #MalaysiaKerja, is a stimulus package that will provide both wage incentives for workers and hiring incentives for employers.

[email protected] was launched because the Pakatan Harapan government had recognised the key challenges we face and hence the need to create better employment opportunities for youth and women, while reducing our overdependence on low-skilled foreign workers. 

Very simply, [email protected] will provide both wage incentives for workers and hiring incentives for employers via the following key thrusts:

  1. [email protected] was targeted at the hiring of graduates who are unemployed for >12 months. The hired graduates will receive a wage incentive of  RM500/month, in conjunction with a hiring incentive of up to RM300/month for each new hire for 2 years. We expect that after 2 years, the previously unemployed graduate would have picked up the necessary skills and competence on-the-job to ensure continued employment with the relevant companies.

  2. [email protected] was targeted to encourage more women to return to the workforce. Therefore, for returning women workers above the age of 30, who have stopped working for >1 year, they will receive a wage incentive RM500/month while the employers will receive a hiring incentive up to RM300/month for 2 years. 

  3. [email protected] targets Malaysians who are hired to replace foreign workers.  They are provided a wage incentive of up to RM500/month (depending on the sectors) and hiring incentive for employers of up to RM250/month for 2 years

The groundbreaking initiative was launched to create more job opportunities for Malaysians; reduce unemployment rate, especially among graduates; increase women participation in the workforce and reduce the heavy reliance on cheap foreign labour.  Ultimately, the scheme will play a major role in boosting economic productivity and growth for the country.

Source: The Edge Markets

Unfortunately, under the new Perikatan National government, the Minister of Finance in his parliamentary reply to me on 27 July 2020, disclosed that the initiative was terminated due to the COVID-19 crisis.

However, it is precisely because of the COVID-19 crisis that [email protected] is even more relevant and important. Malaysians are suffering from job losses as the official unemployment rate has increased from 3.3% in 2020 to 4.7% today, involving more than 740,000 Malaysians.  In March, the Malaysians Employment Federation had estimated that the unemployment rate may hit as high as 13% due to the COVID-19 induced economic crisis.  These figures don’t take into account other exacerbating issues of under-employment.

Source: The Malaysian Reserve

The reinstatement of [email protected] is one of the 6 key demands from Pakatan Harapan to the Ministry of Finance to present a ‘unity budget’ for 2021.  Given the plight the Malaysian and global economy is in today, Budget 2021 must go above and beyond what was announced for 2020, including the extension of wage subsidies for companies which have been affected by the crisis. 

The failure to adopt [email protected] and other additional measures to protect and boost employment will render Budget 2021 a disastrous failure for the economic well-being of ordinary Malaysians.

Tony Pua
DAP National Publicity Secretary
MP for Damansara

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