Saturday, 15 Aug 2020
National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA)
10/06/2020 09:32 PM

By Mohd Fharkhan Abdul Ghapar

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 -- The benefits of social protection for workers in the gig economic sector that were previously obscure are now seen as more guaranteed by way of a grant of up to RM50 million for the gig economy platform under the National Economic Regeneration Plan (PENJANA).

The government's move to provide the facility through the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) would not only directly benefit workers but would also stimulate and expand the economic segment.

Courier service company, Lalamove Malaysia was optimistic that the facility would attract more Malaysians, especially the unemployed to venture into the more flexible economy.

It said in a statement, the direct initiative would open up the opportunities for more youths and unemployed to generate additional income.

“The government’s RM50 million grant will enable the gig economy platforms to contribute to EPF (Employees' Provident Fund) and Socso’s (Social Security Organisation) schemes to reinforce the gig workers’ retirement savings and social security protections.

"Eventually, the PENJANA grant will realise a better protection for the gig workers,” it said in a statement to Bernama.

Meanwhile, Grab Malaysia managing director Sean Goh said, in the face of the difficult economic downturn caused by COVID-19, the e-calling service company was poised to continue leveraging its technology to empower Malaysians, local small and medium businesses (SMEs) and traditional businesses. in implementing the digital economy.

“It is crucial for governments, platforms and technology companies to come together to build the future of work while balancing the needs of consumers and the sustainability of platform businesses that enable the gig economy.

“We are optimistic of creating a progressive and digitalised economic environment that is inclusive, dynamic, and resilient to drive Malaysia forward in its recovery beyond the pandemic,” he said.

Under the short-term economic recovery plan announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Friday, the government would give a matching grant of up to RM50 million for a gig economy platform that contributes to the SOCSO’s Occupational Disaster Scheme and the EPF’s i-Remuneration Scheme with amounts between RM162 and RM250.

The facility, aimed at promoting the sector's growth and social protection of workers, would benefit about 30,000 workers and is scheduled to begin this August.

In welcoming the initiative, the sector's workers said the government's move was appropriate as it opened up opportunities and helped them provide savings for old age, as well as to encourage the workers.

Food deliveryman Muhammad Azri Mahyuddin, 27, said the government's move would truly help workers like him to initiate savings and manage financial affairs.

"Before this, many of us did not have the EPF to contribute or save ... when it is available (PENJANA), it is able to help us ... we are also more enthused in our work," he said.

Meanwhile, e-hailing driver Ahmad Akmar Saidon, 35, suggested that the initiative be continued for a longer periods to help and encourage more gig economy workers to save for the future.

The gig economy is an economic segment that focuses on the short-term contract labour market or independent work done by individuals and is driven by the use of digital technology.

The more flexible working sector, has been gaining popularity in recent times, especially among the younger generation. In fact the gig economy is also expected to continue to grow in 2020 in line with the unemployment rate which is also expected to rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was reported prior to this that, AmBank Research estimated that about 37,260 workers would be terminated in the first 10 months of 2019 and that the vacancy in the labour market would stand at 83,700.

-- BERNAMA

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