Gig economy commission to improve welfare of workers to be unveiled in Budget 2024

KUALA LUMPUR: Details of the commission to regulate the gig economy expected to impact 1.12 million workers will be announced in the 2024 Budget in October, says Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Deputy Prime Minister also said it is hoped that aid for ehailing drivers and p-hailing riders next year could be increased to RM500mil from the RM100mil that was allocated in 2023.

"The Human Resources Ministry is responsible for presenting a memo to Cabinet to set up the commission as informal sector workers have no protection," Ahmad Zahid told reporters after launching a national forum on the gig economy framework here today (July 17).

"What is most important is that over the years, even as the gig economy expanded, gig workers felt neglected as service providers don't see them as employees and the service providers don't seem themselves as employers."

This was among the flaws that the commission is expected to address when it is established, Ahmad Zahid added.

The Malaysian gig economy is estimated to be valued at RM1.61bil and that local platforms are expected to grow from RM371.4mil in 2021 to RM650mil in 2025.

The commission, tentatively called the Malaysian Gig Economy Commission (SEGiM), is aimed at resolving issues in the informal work ecosystem and to create initiatives that will take care of the welfare of consumers, vendors, traders, workers and service platform providers, Ahmad Zahid said in an earlier speech.

Among the commission's main duties are to coordinate the creation of clear regulations and rules that can protect all participants and promote a fair environment in the industry.

SEGiM will also be tasked with protecting gig workers by advocating for workers' rights, social safety nets and job security, Ahmad Zahid said.

The commission will also represent the interest of gig workers by ensuring that their rights are protected including the right to fair wages, social protection and workplace safety.

Ahmad Zahid added that the body will conduct research and promote innovations in the gig economy including developing new business models and adopting the latest commercial trends.

"In order to restructure the gig economy so that it is more systematic, fair and harmonious, the Human Resources Ministry is crafting a framework that will be used as a reference for everyone involved in the industry".

The framework will encompass the definition of what is a gig worker, their labour rights and the social protection they must possess, he added.

Besides the commission, the government will also invest in upskilling and reskilling gig workers through programmes under Mara, the Human Resources Development Fund and the Youth and Sports Ministry, Ahmad Zahid said.

He added that the government will consider other proposed initiatives to aid gig workers such as subsidies for social security (Socso) and Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions, driving licences, insurance and road tax.

"I am confident that these initiatives will be considered by the Prime Minister for inclusion into the 2024 Budget so that we can create a conducive environment for gig workers to continue to prosper and contribute to the economy".

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