More goodies for workers

PUTRAJAYA: After the RM1,500 minimum wage, workers in the country can look forward to more initiatives aimed at ensuring their well-being, including insurance protection for the self-employed.

Another “gift” announced in conjunction with Workers’ Day celebrations is the compulsory setting up of childcare centres for the public sector, including state governments and statutory bodies.

A vehicle insurance financing programme with no-interest instalments of up to 10 months will also be in place.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said these initiatives are to honour Malaysia’s workforce for their contribution towards the country’s progress.

“We believe the nation’s workforce will remain resilient, united and continue to play a crucial role in economic recovery post-Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in his Workers’ Day message yesterday.

Ismail Sabri said the RM1,500 minimum wage, which took effect yesterday, was a gift for the workforce for their tireless dedication in developing the country.

On the insurance protection initiative, he said a target to provide coverage for one million self-employed workers has been set and 80% of the contribution will be borne by the government.

The programme will be under the Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) self-employed social security scheme.

The Prime Minister said the policy on childcare centres will be extended to the private sector, pointing out that the government has provided annual grants of RM30mil since 2020 for this initiative to ease the burden of workers with young children.

On the vehicle insurance financing programme, Ismail Sabri explained that the programme, which began on May 1, will be offered to civil servants and later extended to private sector workers.

It will be implemented by the Human Resources Ministry together with Socso and Angkatan Koperasi Kebangsaan Malaysia Bhd (Angkasa).

Ismail Sabri said a mechanism will be drawn up to reduce the country’s dependency on foreign workers so that the local workforce will be given priority when it comes to employment.

He said that with the reopening of borders, certain economic sectors will be able to recruit foreign workers, especially in 3D – dirty, dangerous and difficult – sectors.

“This, however, does not mean we are turning our backs on local workers.

“Apart from working on the mechanism, the Human Resources Ministry is to look at how local workers can be given more employment benefits such as better salaries, employment packages and opportunities for career advancement,” he added.

On the issue of forced labour, the Prime Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to protect the rights of workers in the country, both local and foreign.

In March, Malaysia ratified the International Labour Organisation’s forced labour convention known as Protocol 29.

“This is proof of the government’s commitment to eliminate forced labour in the country.

“This is also our proactive measure to ensure Malaysian goods and products will no longer face restrictions to enter international markets following claims of forced labour,” said Ismail Sabri.

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