NGO lauds Budget 2021 for setting up 'safety nets' for the people


KUALA LUMPUR: A non-governmental organisation says that Budget 2021 is people-centric as it takes into consideration how the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted lives and livelihoods.

Malaysians Against Rape, Assault & Snatch Theft (Marah) founder Dave Avran said Budget 2021 lays out several social "safety net" initiatives to help those economically affected by the pandemic, especially the B40 group, by empowering the digital and gig economies.

Marah also lauded the social and community aspects of Budget 2021.

"Marah lauds the RM21mil allocation to build shelters for victims of domestic violence. This is indeed very necessary. Secondly, the incentives to hire locals, the elderly, the disabled, ex-prisoners and recovered drug addicts are likewise very positive steps," he said on Saturday (Nov 7).

He said Budget 2021 also aimed to create new opportunities for job seekers and to encourage the private sector and government-linked companies to do likewise.

"Employers are now offered a 20% incentive to encourage job opportunities for the disabled, retrenched workers, single mothers and those unemployed long-term.

"Industries that have relied heavily on foreign workers, especially construction and plantation, are now offered an incentive of 60% of the monthly salary – with 40% direct to employers and 20% to the local that replaces the foreign worker," he added.

Another piece of good news is the allocation of RM2bil to continue the Penjana Kerjaya programme under Socso, which is expected to help 250,000 job-seekers, Avran said.

"For workers hired under Penjana Kerjaya, the maximum cost of the training that can be claimed by employers has been raised from RM4,000 to RM7,000. Therefore, these employees can now undergo a high-skills or professional certificate programme.

"Additionally, if you employ an elderly person, an ex-prisoner or an ex-drug addict, you are given additional tax reductions," he said.

Also welcomed is the RM20mil allocation for ex-prisoners to obtain vocational training, with a National Employment Council acting to create more jobs and increase the skills and training of workers.

"Dubbed 'MyStep', the short-term employment programme has an allocation of RM700mil, offering 50,000 contract-based jobs," he said.

However, Avran said what was not addressed in Budget 2021 was the housing, salaries and equipment used by defence and police personnel.

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