KUALA LUMPUR: The government is allocating RM6.5bil to Malaysia@Work to create jobs for Malaysians in the next five years, mainly for fresh graduates, says the Prime Minister.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said young Malaysians must be equipped with the right skills or be prepared for socio-economic turmoil.
“The allocation of RM6.5bil for Malaysia@Work will create jobs for Malaysians over the next five years.
“The programme has many long-term multiplier effects that go beyond the five years – it creates jobs, it creates learning opportunities, it creates relationships that require collaboration, ” he said.
Dr Mahathir added that the programme would be facilitated by the Finance Ministry through the EPF and assisted by the Ministries of Education, Youth and Sports, Women, Family and Development, Home Affairs and Human Resources.
“I want to emphasise that not only do I require the mentioned ministries to be personally accountable for the various ‘@Work’ pillars, I expect the rest of the Cabinet to step up, pool their resources and give all support available to ensure the programme’s success.
“If we do this well, Malaysia@Work will be the answer to driving sustainable progress and inclusive social well-being for the entire country, ” he said in his speech while officiating the International Social Well-being Conference 2019, convened by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), here on Thursday (Nov 21).
The Prime Minister said that while progress must be made, it should not only benefit a few and sideline the rest, especially fresh graduates, women, youth and those in the 3D (dirty, dangerous, difficult) job sectors.
He gave the examples of technology disruption and climate change as something countries must be aware of.
“Today’s technology is disrupting so many industries, with every corporation needing to change their old ways or risk being phased out.
“We have fintech (financial tech services) transforming the entire finance industry.
“In the media industry, traditional ways of working are being completely eradicated. Entire companies have closed down.
“Even in the medical industry, robots are becoming better than expert surgeons in performing the more complex micro-surgeries, ” said Dr Mahathir, adding that young Malaysian needed to “upskill”.
“When a big proportion of our youth are unemployed, we lose their potential contribution to the country, waste the investment we have made in their education, and create a fertile ground for discontent and instability.
“We cannot let that happen.
“All we need to do is to look towards places like Hong Kong, Beirut and Santiago to see how economically frustrated youths can bring about conflict and unrest, worsening already precarious and unstable economic conditions, ” he said.
Dr Mahathir also said that 3D jobs must be re-branded as “dignified, desirable and dynamic” so that more locals would join the sector.
He also praised Malaysia’s female workforce for “holding up half the sky”.
Also in attendance were ministers Lim Guan Eng, Datuk Seri Dr Wan azizah Wan Ismail, Syed Saddiq and deputy minister Datuk Mahfuz Omar.
The story has been corrected. The RM6.5bil sum is allotted to the Malaysia@Work project, and not to the EPF, which is the implementer.