KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Malaysians now have better employment prospects and can rest easier that their financial future is more secure thanks to job initiatives rolled out under Budget 2020, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) said today.
Tasked to undertake the Malaysians@Work initiative, the pension fund said the government programme aims to increase recruitment opportunities domestically for citizens and simultaneously cut local reliance on migrant labour.
“The Malaysians@Work is an important measure towards resolving critical talent issues in the country, such as low wages and high youth unemployment especially amongst new graduates as well as enabling a return to work programme for women,” EPF CEO Tunku Alizakri Alias said in a statement.
Alizakri said those were the common grouses that were frequently heard by the government, and that is now being translated into action under Budget 2020.
He said Malaysia and Malaysians benefit in the long run by keeping investments in the country, noting that much money had been spent to train imported workers.
He expressed optimism that Malaysians@Work will keep citizens employed in key sectors at home instead of abroad, boosting the economy domestically.
He also said employers will find it cheaper to hire local-born instead of foreign workers as their required contribution to EPF will be offset by the government incentive offered.
EPF contributors and their beneficiaries will be able to make immediate withdrawals from their accounts such as for education purposes once the pension fund puts in place a new mechanism to do so under the Malaysians@Work, Alizakri said.
He added that the withdrawal options were made so Malaysians could continuously improve their skills to meet the demands of a changing work environment.
“The expansion of the education withdrawal facility under Account 2 to members’ spouses and parents, also looks to extend the productivity of EPF members’ families.
“Members can opt to financially support their spouses or parents to enrol in continuous learning programmes and ensure self-sufficiency beyond retirement,” he said.
Alizakri said EPF is also looking to extend the fund’s social security coverage for all Malaysians.
Wives will benefit more financially as EPF will make it easier for husbands to voluntarily transfer 2 per cent of the required 11 per cent contribution monthly under the Contribution Programme for Spouses.
“The EPF has always acknowledged women, irrespective of whether they have full-time careers or are housewives, as valuable and significant contributors to the economy.
“Women tend to shoulder the bigger part of the responsibility for care-giving duties in the family. Stable families improve productivity among workers, so wives should also enjoy some social security benefits,” said Alizakri, adding that it was to benefit the family unit as a whole.
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