Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz observing a patient undergoing treatment at the PERKESO Rehabilitation Centre Tun Abdul Razak in Melaka which houses the Neuro-Robotics Rehabilitation and Cybernics Centre that offers Cyberdyne HAL therapy.

AS we celebrate PERKESO’s 52nd anniversary, it is with deep hope and introspection that the organisation carries the will of its legacy, but also evolve, adapt, and make a positive impact in Malaysia.

Over the past five decades, PERKESO has emerged as a driving force – dedicated to empowering social protection, and committed to safeguarding Malaysians’ well-being.

Social protection is vital for lifetime income stability throughout a lifespan, and designed to combat poverty and inequalities.

PERKESO’s mission is twofold:

> To protect individuals from disability, work-related injury, unemployment, illness and death.

> To improve efficiency in the labour market.

It is not just an economic tool for growth, but an instrument that fosters social cohesion and social justice as well.

In 1972, Malaysia’s second prime minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Tun Hussein, had a visionary outlook.

Tun Abdul Razak saw PERKESO as more than just an administrative body, but a dynamic force capable of accelerating the country’s economic development and shaping socioeconomic policies.

He emphasised PERKESO’s role in ensuring social justice through equitable income distribution and fair employment opportunities.

These visionary ideals remain at the heart of our mission as we strive diligently to strengthen the social protection system and promote decent work for all Malaysians.

The latest report from International Labor Organisation states that only 27.2% of Malaysia’s population is effectively covered by at least one social protection measure – well below the global average of 46.9% which shows that more work needs to be done.

Despite numerous challenges, we have made significant progress in enhancing Malaysia’s social protection.

We started with just two basic social security schemes for formal workers – the Occupational Injury Scheme and the Invalidity Pension Scheme. However, we have evolved over time, adapting to changes in Malaysia’s labour market and expanding coverage to all working populations.

To address the lack of protection for informal and emerging platform jobs, we are diligently working to extend the Self-Employment Social Security Scheme (SKSPS) to all 20 informal sectors.

We have also responded to the needs of unpaid family workers, including domestic workers, and introduced the Housewives Social Security Scheme in December 2022 to acknowledge players in the care economy.

Our commitment to inclusivity even extends to documented foreign workers, including expatriates, and who are contributing to our economy – leaving no one left behind.

Furthermore, PERKESO is committed to developing a non-discriminatory and gender-responsive social protection system.

We are identifying gaps in social protection benefits – particularly for maternity and long-term care – with a focus on social insurance schemes that address gender inequality and old-age poverty.

Beyond monetary compensation, we continue to invest in sustainability through prevention and rehabilitation programmes.

We are collaborating with key stakeholders to construct two additional high-tech rehabilitation centres in Ipoh and Terengganu to widen access to such services for people in the northern and eastern regions of Peninsular Malaysia.

To retain productivity of workers in the economy, our interventions include the linkages between social security and active labour market policies.

While the unemployment rate has decreased since the Covid-19 recovery, our nation’s workforce continues to face structural labour market challenges such as low female participation, high-dependency on low-skill foreign workers, and skills gap between supply and demand. Therefore, as an extension to the Employment Insurance System (EIS), PERKESO leads the national employment service MYFutureJobs to improve job matching, publish public labour market information, and implement active labour market programmes such as the MYFutureJobs career fairs and Kerjaya Madani incentives to encourage job placement.

As I reflect on the achievements of our humble institution in the last five decades, I must express my sincerest gratitude to those who have contributed to PERKESO’s milestones and development.

With the founding principles and values outlined by our forefathers in launching PERKESO 52 years ago, the organisation will continue to innovate service delivery and strengthen institutional capacity to serve insured workers, families and employers.

Moreover, I implore all our stakeholders to view social protection as an investment in the pursuit of economic and inclusive development – not as an additional cost for conducting business.

Every social security contribution collected counts towards breaking the cycle of economic vulnerability and revitalising human capital in Malaysia.

Together, we will continue PERKESO’s journey towards a more universal, sustainable and adequate protection for all.

Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz

Group Chief Executive Officer


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