With the country in a time of economic uncertainty because of the government’s failure to manage the economy with greater certainty, it has also caused anxiety over the issue of unemployment.
It is encouraging therefore that the government has decided to look into an employment insurance scheme for the Malaysian workforce as it has become necessary due to recent developments.
Last year alone, 37,699 people was dismissed from their jobs. Although a decrease from the previous year but that is only because 2015 was a record year with 44,343 people retrenched.
Given these numbers, the idea of a dynamic employment insurance scheme to protect against retrenchments and ensuring active job-seeking by victims should be supported by all.
The scheme, as the Human Resource Minister Richard Riot said, will benefit 6.5million people many of whom are low to middle income earners – the people who are most vulnerable in these tough economic times.
Furthermore, according to International Labour Organization (ILO), 72 countries around the world have unemployment benefits of some kind, meanwhile Malaysia as a developing nation does not have a single safety net for retrenched workers.
The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has so far voiced their disapproval over the scheme. Although it must be said that it is unbecoming of employers or companies to protest against the implementation of an unemployment insurance scheme as at this moment most companies are not event compensating employees with fair income proportionate to their vast profits.
A mere 0.25-0.5% monthly contribution from wages (in SOCSO’s model) should not put a dent to business operations – and considering that the money will be channeled towards employees’ long term welfare, there is really no reason for employers to reject this proposal.
If the MEF is not in support of this idea, what alternative can they propose?
As mentioned earlier, this is a scheme that we should support, but it’s implementation must be also be monitored closely. The fund must be administered independently, with accountability and utmost integrity.
We do not want cases of misuse of funds like Tabung Haji, Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP), Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT), etc. that has cost the country billions.