Budget 2020: MEF welcomes upskilling of workforce

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 12 Oct 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has generally tabled a positive budget, says the Malaysian Employers Federation.

Its executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the government did this by attracting investments, creating jobs, reducing unemployment, reducing dependence on foreign workers as well as incentives for employers to adopt new technologies and digitalisation, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

He added that the initiatives are workable strategies that aim to reinvigorate the national economy and are consistent with the MEF position.

Shamsuddin welcomed Malaysians@Work, saying that it will create better employment opportunities for youths, women and the latent workforce and reduce dependence on low-skilled foreign workers.

He added that the increased allocation - particularly for Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) - would assist in upskilling the workforce and accelerate industry initiatives to move up the value chain.

"The government's decision to promote greater collaboration with the industry would accelerate the mainstreaming of TVET and create better quality employment opportunities," said Shamsuddin in a statement on Friday (Oct 11).

Shamsuddin also said that employers also stand to benefit from Apprentice@Work through the extension of double tax deductions on expenses incurred by companies participating in Skim Latihan Dual Nasional (SLDN) for another two years.

"This is in addition to the double tax deduction currently given to companies undertaking structured Internship Programme (SIP) under Talent Corp," he said.

Shamsuddin however raised concerns about the government's proposal to increase the minimum wage from RM1,100 to RM1,200, beginning in 2020 for cities and bigger towns.

He also said that the proposal to expand the scope of the Employment Act 1955 to cover workers with salaries up to RM4,000 from the current RM2,000 would add to the cost of doing business.

Shamsuddin also did not agree to extending maternity leave from 60 days to 90 days beginning 2021 as this would add burden on employers who were already paying in full for the 60-day maternity leave.

In developed countries and other Asean countries, maternity leave is paid by social security, he added.

"In Singapore, the government pays for the additional 24 days for the first and second births when the maternity leave was increased from 60 days to 84 days and the government pays fully the cost of maternity leave for the third and fourth births," he said.

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