Social security protection will be continuously reformed, says HR Ministry

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Resources Ministry would continuously reform social security protection in Malaysia to make it all-inclusive, says its Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.

He said beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, there were many more reforms required of policy makers and it has been his personal mission to see the implementation of these reforms during his tenure.

"Recently, I recognised that the care economy, which includes domestic helpers and housewives, is equally important in contributing to economic growth, but they are not protected against mishaps related to their services.

"Therefore, I have presented proposals to the Cabinet and in Parliament to extend the Social Security Organisation (Socso)’s protection to domestic helpers by June 2021 and to housewives from August 2022.

“Parliament has collectively agreed to the necessary amendments and enacted a new law to narrow the social security coverage gap in the country.”

He said this in his speech when launching the Asian Workers’ Compensation Association (AWCA) technical seminar on navigating social security and well-being post Covid-19 in Asia here.

The text of his speech was read out by Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Awang Hashim.

The three-day seminar from today is being attended by more than 200 local and foreign participants from South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore, comprising social security practitioners, academicians and stakeholders.

Saravanan said employers and workers around the world experienced how the national social security systems protected the society at large against vulnerabilities including the occupational and health hazards during the pandemic, as well as how a massive crisis could result in poverty.

He said globally, governments had relied on social security programmes to protect their people from health and economic risks during the pandemic including the implementation of wage or hiring subsidies, extending access to public healthcare and Covid-19 screening, as well as reducing taxation and contribution burden.

"The situation has called for us, policy makers, to extend the existing social security coverage and enhance social security benefits to better prepare us for future crises. “Therefore, this seminar is organised at the right time to discuss the rising challenges and potential solutions post Covid-19 pandemic.

"This seminar is also a major step to precipitate that necessary change by identifying the needs, challenges, solutions, ideas and proven practices in social security,” he said.

Socso chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed said to ensure that all 1.9 billion workers in Asia were protected from unintended occupational hazards and life setbacks, the Socso secretariat team had expanded the scope of the seminar to a broader area of social security.

"Social security programmes for workers must be progressive, all-inclusive and comprehensive, especially in preparing for future adversities.

"For this reason, I am glad that the AWCA has created a platform and opportunity for social security practitioners to share specific strategies and case studies in the field of workers’ compensation and social security,” he added. - Bernama

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