Interns are not full-time workers, says Higher Education Minister

PUTRAJAYA: The government cannot force companies to treat interns the same as employees, says Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

Responding to a media question on whether his ministry would review the policies of industrial training, the Higher Education Minister said: “Interns are not the same as full-time workers, therefore they are unable to earn equal wages.”

He said a study would be conducted to determine the marketability of varsity students who undergo internship programmes.

“This is to address concerns over the lack of proper oral and written communication skills among higher institution students.

“There are many reasons as to why a student's marketability can be affected. The first of these may be the lack of job opportunities,” he said at a press conference after launching the Semarak Siswa Madani initiative here on Tuesday (June 20).

On the concerns over SPM leavers not pursuing their tertiary studies, Mohamed Khaled said the foundation should be started from the schooling stage.

“What we can do is to create awareness among parents and communities in order to cultivate the importance of furthering studies among students,” he said.

The Semarak Siswa Madani initiative aims to open up opportunities for tertiary students to develop their skills, and critical thinking in dealing with local community problems.

It seeks to promote innovations involving technology, humane economy, courtesy, and sustainability at varsities.

The initiative, he said, was also to boost participation, and community service development among students through voluntary programmes and social activities.

"Aside from just pursuing their tertiary studies, students must develop their maturity in care and leadership.

"The ministry is here to facilitate - we help develop the personality of our graduates so that they can achieve their future aspirations," he said.

The initiative, which involves 20 public universities, 36 polytechnics and 105 community colleges, focuses on four programmes comprising KPT Prihatin Madani, Student for Society (S4S), Inovasi Sosial - Knowledge Transfer Programme (KTP), and TVET@Komuniti Madani.

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