By Azlee Nor Mahmud
KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 (Bernama) -- Government policies such as the National Transformation Programme (NTP) place special emphasis on ensuring that the youth workforce is gainfully employed, with 1.8 million jobs having been created between 2010 and 2016.
Of this number, over one million were high-income jobs.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said through the NTP, the Gross National Income increased by nearly 50 per cent, with poverty in Malaysia almost eradicated, in having reduced it to just 0.6 per cent.
"We have kept inflation and unemployment low, while having won acclaim from global institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for the reforms undertaken.
"We are firmly on the path to becoming a high-income nation. In short, we have an economic plan. That plan is working, we have delivered, and we will continue to deliver," Najib reiterated during his keynote address at the recent 2017 Global Transformation Forum.
He said to help those within the low-income group cope with the rising cost of living, and also stimulate economic activity in the consumer market, the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) was introduced in 2012 and provided targeted relief to 7.28 million households earning less than RM3,000 a month in 2016.
"One reason why the NTP has been so successful, and why we have been able to introduce programmes such as BR1M and various targeted housing plans, is because we have maintained a strong focus on two areas, namely human capital and connectivity," he added.
Najib also listed programmes under the NTP, including new innovation centres, increasing graduate employability, boosting female participation in the workforce and supporting women in the boardroom and in leadership positions.
Meanwhile, the Small Retailer Transformation Programme (TUKAR) encompassed by the NTP, has helped improve the living standards of low income households.
The TUKAR programme was advertised in newspapers, enrolled eligible candidates and assisted in giving participants expert advice from mentors involved in it.
The Poverty Eradication Programme (1AZAM) initiative under the NTP has also helped Malaysians by providing agricultural equipment, seeds, fertiliser and herbicides.
The NTP programmes will inadvertently enhance Malaysia's sustainable economy and the livelihood of citizens, amid the harsh worldwide economic and geopolitical volatility.
The difficult climate is without setbacks and according to the Institute for Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA) Advisor, Lee Chee Sung, it has translated into unemployment numbers.
"The number of unemployed workers in Malaysia has continued to be subdued, fluctuating between 400,000 to 500,000 from 2010-2016," he told reporters at the recent 32nd National Economic Briefing of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research.
"Reflecting steady economic growth, the employment rate has been stable with job creation keeping pace with annual labour force additions and increasing labour force participation.
"Some 100,000 new jobs were created in 2016 and the number as well as share of skilled jobs in the workforce has also seen a positive increasing trend," he said.
Between 2001 and 2015, 20 per cent of jobs created were classified as high skilled, 52 per cent as middle skill and 28 per cent low-skilled.
In 2016, men comprised 61 per cent of the workforce and women 39 per cent, while employed men and women in the 25-39 age group were each at 45 per cent.
Youth between 15-24 years, in the meantime, represented 18 per cent of the workforce, comprising both men and women.
"Despite recent weaknesses, Malaysia's labour market situation remains overall, tight, while the outlook remains positive with downside risks reflecting mostly the global environment," said Lee.