Data needed to see why 200,000 graduates are jobless

PETALING JAYA: More comprehensive data is needed to find out why 200,000 graduates including foreign degree holders are unemployed, says Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.The Special Parliamentary Select Committee on the Budget chairman said details including why they were unemployed, how long they had been unemployed, and if there was a true lack of demand for the courses taken was needed.

“This is an important issue. Although at present the graduate unemployment rate is about 11%, the figure could grow bigger (if left unchecked), ” he said.

Mustapa noted even engineers were jobless.

He said this after an exclusive conversation on “Breaking the Youths’ Income Ceiling” with Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) chief executive officer Melissa Ong during the Budget 2020 Town Hall at Sunway University yesterday.

He said Malaysia was trying to emulate Germany’s dual-track programme to include technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in higher learning institutes in a move to enhance employability of graduates.

Mustapa said it was also pertinent to gather data on people working in informal sectors such as pasar malam, and e-hailing, as well as other new growth areas.

With the changing economic landscape in the digital era, there was a need to capture the necessary data to project future growth, he said.

He said the Select Committee would also monitor implementation of projects and programmes under the Budget 2020.

“We want to make sure every ringgit allocated by the government reach the ground as planned.”

Earlier, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii hoped youths would not abuse the incentives offered by the government.

“For example, the incentive offered to youths who secured employment after searching for jobs for 12 months could be abused.

“This may encourage youths to wait a year before accepting jobs so that they could qualify for the incentive.

“Also, this may promote mediocrity over meritocracy when less competent ones get extra benefit when they get employed later, as companies would hire more competent ones first, ” he said.

Under Budget 2020, graduates who secure a job after being unemployed for more than a year will receive a wage incentive of RM500 per month under Budget 2020.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced under the Graduates@Work programme that graduates who secure work would receive a wage incentive of RM500 per month for a duration of two years.

Dr Yi said he would bring up the issue during the Budget debate session in Parliament.

Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies head Danesh Chandran said they had forwarded 18 policy recommendation to the Education Ministry to improve the Malaysian education system.

“We have included an additional point to demand mandatory secondary education for children, ” he said.

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