26/02/2024 01:52 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 (Bernama) -- Improving the welfare of informal workers will continue to be one of the priorities for the government, as highlighted in the Mid-Term review of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

Deputy secretary-general (Policy) of the Ministry of Economy, Datuk Dr Zunika Mohamed, said the government had allocated RM100 million in contribution matching grants for the Self-Employment Social Security Scheme provided by the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

“Additionally, the voluntary i-Saraan programme under the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is further boosted by increasing the matching contribution value to the maximum of RM500 per year for each individual,” she said in her opening remarks at the launch of ‘Informal Employment in Malaysia: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Reform’ Report, here today.

The report was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Economy and the World Bank Group through the Reimbursable Advisory Services, which delves into the analysis of the scale and trend of informal employment and deep dives into the regulations, policies and programs governing informal employment.

Zunika said the report highlighted that informal employment as a whole declined to 26.8 per cent in 2022 from 38.2 per cent in 2009.

“However, with the advent of digitalisation and the unforeseen consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the nature of employment has transformed and further fuelled the growth of gig work,” she said.

Zunika said the report emphasised that existing provisions for informally employed workers in the context of retirement savings and protection against health and injury risks still fall short of meeting their needs.

“The inability or unwillingness of workers towards making contributions in social insurance schemes further stresses the disparity in social protection for informal workers.

“The stark reality as we delve into the findings is that informally employed workers grapple with a higher prevalence of skills-related underemployment and time-related underemployment compared to their formally employed counterparts,” she said.

Quoting the report, Dr Zunika said the underemployment rate of formally employed workers had increased to 26.5 per cent in 2020 from 16.2 per cent in 2010.

She noted that in sharp contrast, the underemployment rate of informally employed workers had increased to 73.2 per cent in 2020 from 23.7 per cent in 2010.

Zunika said the government is set to expand upskilling and reskilling programmes to enhance the skills and capabilities of informal workers.

Meanwhile, during a press conference after the launching ceremony, Zunika said the government would also conduct additional research with the World Bank to propose strategies to help the informal sector face the problems and challenges, and these strategies would be included in 13MP.

“The study includes a number of issues such as the risk of being in high-risk jobs, vulnerability in income, access to financial services and challenges in career development.

“The challenges in this job require a comprehensive strategy to deal with related issues,” she said.






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