Wednesday, July 8

[email protected] programme to create 350,000 jobs

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KUALA LUMPUR: The government will be launching the [email protected] initiative, aimed at simultaneously creating better working employment opportunities for youths and women, in the process reducing over-dependence on low-skilled foreign workers.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when tabling the 2020 Budget in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, said the government anticipates that the [email protected] initiative will create an additional 350,000 jobs for Malaysians in five years.

“This programme will be able to reduce foreign workers dependency by more than 130,000 jobs,” he said.

According to Lim, the programme will cost RM6.5 billion over the next five years.

He said [email protected] is divided into four programmes directed at workers and employers by providing various incentives.

Lim said the first programme, [email protected] is designed specifically for the hiring of graduates who have been unemployed for more than 12 months, and each graduate who secure work will receive a wage incentive of RM500 per month, for a duration of two years. “Employers, meanwhile will receive a hiring incentive of up to RM300 a month for each new hire for the same period,” he said.

Lim said the [email protected] programme, meanwhile seeks to create 33,000 job opportunities a year for women between 30 and 50 years old and who have stopped working for a year or more.

Under this programme, returning women workers would be paid a RM500 wage incentive a month for two years, while employers will be given a hiring incentive of RM300 per month for two years.

“On top of that, the current income tax exemption for women who return to work after a career break will be extended for four years until 2023,” he said.

Lim said the [email protected] programme, meanwhile, is a hiring cost equalisation programme aimed at incentivising the shift away from low-skilled foreign workers dependency.

“The wage incentive for Malaysians who are hired to replace foreign workers is at either RM350 or RM500 per month, depending on the sectors for two years, while employers will receive a hiring incentive of RM250 per month for the same period,” he said.

The [email protected] programme, meanwhile, is a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) incentive programme, aimed at encouraging more youths to take up TVET courses, in the form of an additional RM100 per month on top of existing allowance for trainees on apprenticeships, he said.

As such, the government will also extend double tax deduction on expenses incurred by companies participating in the Skim Latihan Dual Nasional (SLDN) for a further two years.

“In addition, the double tax deduction currently given to companies undertaking Structured Internship Programme (SIP) approved by Talent Corporation  Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp) will be expanded to include students from all academic fields,” he said.

Lim said the government believes the [email protected] programme will enable Malaysians who are unemployed to gain the necessary skills sets and capabilities with on-the-job training, to ensure continued employement with the relevant company, with the retention rate expected to exceed 90 per cent after the incentive ends in two years.

“This will build human capital from the unemployed to become self-reliant worketrs, able to contribute productively to the labour market,” he said.

Lim said the [email protected] initiatives will be managed by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and will be subsequently integrated with the Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) as well as other active labour market programmes. — Bernama